DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Local fire departments are feeling the impact of an EMT shortage, and one college is working to train people for those positions.

Chuck Sowerbrower works part-time for Harrison Township EMS.

“I dig it, I enjoy doing what I do,” Sowerbrower said.

The other half of the time, he’s Sinclair Community College’s Emergency Medical Services chair, teaching the next generation of EMTs and paramedics.

Sinclair Community College offers a program for people to become EMTs or paramedics.

Sowerbrower said the shortage is the biggest issue he’s seen in years.

“The departments are crying for people and I can’t move them out fast enough,” Sowerbrower said.

To help feed new workers into these open jobs, Sinclair, along with several other educational institutions, partner with agencies like the Dayton Fire Department.

“We can provide that clinical site experience in a very busy urban EMS system, but at the same time, some of those young members that are in training might see the Dayton Fire Department as a potential employment opportunity down the road,” Dayton Fire Department Public Information Officer Capt. Brad French said.

French said the Dayton Fire Department has been lucky it hasn’t been impacted by the shortage.

But, French said when an EMS agency is understaffed, it could increase response time.

“Time is absolutely critical,” French said. “We’ve seen that play out in several national events and things like that. The quicker that a trained responder can get there, the better.”

Sowerbrower said retirement, burnout, and lack of volunteerism are also just a few reasons people are leaving the field.

He said what keeps him and many other EMS professionals going is the passion for helping people.

“It’s caring for people, it really is,” Sowerbrower said. “It’s being able to know that I can come out and make an impact.”

Sinclair Community College offers three different routes for students, an EMT program, a paramedic program, and a degree program.