Multiple shootings put strain on EMS staff

Three separate shootings that required Baton Rouge EMS to transport six people to the hospital took up some of the medical resources.
Published: May. 4, 2022 at 5:46 PM CDT

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Three separate shootings that required Baton Rouge EMS to transport six people to the hospital took up some of the medical resources.

It was a busy Tuesday, May 3, with the Baton Rouge Police Department responding to three shootings. The first occurred around 5 p.m., with a staggering five people shot on North 39th Street. A house and a car were sprayed with bullets. Each person hit is expected to be okay.

Around 8 p.m., a 41-year-old man was shot on Terrace Avenue. Police said he will survive.

An hour later, police and EMS rushed to a deadly scene on Bob Pettit Boulevard near Tigerland. Gunfire claimed the life of a man. A 24-year-old woman who was also hit in that shooting was able to take herself to the hospital. Authorities said she will make it.

For every shooting call, Baton Rouge EMS flashes its ambulance lights and hauls it to the scene.

“We have the resources in place to run those calls but whenever you have that, along with the other calls that are going on in the parish, car accidents, medical calls, things like that, it stretches you a little thin,” explained Brad Harris, EMS public information officer and first responder.

Harris has been doing this job for 23 years. He said it seems like each year gets busier and busier. On average, they get 188 calls a day, and so far this year, they’ve had more than 23,000 calls.

“One call might take over an hour to run, so by the time you are dispatched to the scene, the amount of time it takes to get to the call. Stay on the scene, treat the patient, bring them to the hospital and decontaminate your truck an hour might pass,” added Harris.

When there are multiple shooting victims, as was the case with the 39th Street shooting, more medics and more ambulances are needed to render aid, explained Harris.

He says sometimes calls like that can pull paramedics away from other emergencies because it may take longer to treat multiple victims.

“Employees go home, they are absolutely drained, but then however the next shift might be understaffed, and we are calling overtime. So, someone who just worked three shifts in a row is now being asked to work overtime,” said Harris.

It’s why Baton Rouge EMS is always trying to recruit.

“The more employees we are able to hire, the more ambulances that we could put up. The more ambulances we put reduces the response time to calls,” added Harris.

So far, no arrests have been made in any of the shootings.

Anyone with information about these shootings can call Crime Stoppers at 344-STOP (7867).

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