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      Florence County EMS to hire 20 people for new shift

      Florence County EMS says it will hire 20 paramedics and EMTs now that a fourth shift is being added.

      EMS has been understaffed since December 2011.

      During that time, 15 employees quit because of low pay, long hours and better opportunities in other counties.

      "We've had high instances of turn over and employees who resigned to take positions elsewhere. That was due largely in part to the amount of hours that they were being required to work . And also the lack of competitive salaries and we're working now to try to rectify those problems, " said Ryon Watkins, Florence County EMS Director.

      Watkins adds the additional shift will help to cut down workers hours.

      "Currently our employees are working an average 57 hours a week without any overtime. And with the addition of this fourth shift, the number of hours worked will be done to 49 per week."

      Watkins says his employees are thankful to Florence County Council for their efforts to improve working conditions at EMS.

      "They were understanding of the situation and wi l ling to step up and do something about it. We the employees of EMS are very appreciative."

      The fourth shift will allow EMS to put two more ambulances on the road everyday.