EMT workers worry rising gas costs will affect their job

Emergency workers are feeling the pinch at the pump, and they worry that the rising cost of gas will eventually affect their ability to perform their jobs.

Mike Nikolis, the president of the Holmdel First Aid Squad, says workers aren?t letting the cost of fuel prevent them from doing their job ? yet. ?If gas goes to five, six dollars a gallon ? how many people can afford a $170 tank of gas?? he asks.

EMT workers and volunteers can fill up ambulances at municipal tanks, which means the town is paying for the gas. But workers who drive to headquarters or take their own cars to respond to calls pay for their own gas. Many of the workers are on fixed incomes, and the decision of whether or not to respond to a call is getting more and more difficult.

Nikolis is turning to federal and state lawmakers to help solve the problem, which is becoming a statewide concern. ?The state should step in and try to start a program or get some sort of relief to our EMTs,? he says. Nikolis would like to see a deal similar to one in Australia, where oil companies offer discounts to first responders.

EMT worker Mike Korda agrees. ?I?d like to see some sort of help,? he says. ?It would cut back on how much I have to pay on gas.?

Holmdel Township is also in the process of applying for a FEMA grant that would provide a stipend for volunteer firefighters and EMTs.

Nikolis says he hasn?t heard back from any of the lawmakers he?s contacted.

For footage of the Holmdel First Aid Squad talking about the effect of gas prices on their work, go to channel 612 on your iO digital cable box and select iO Extra.

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