DELAWARE, Pa. — Former emergency medical service providers (EMS) can get certificates to return to service following an exemption announced by the Pennsylvania Department Of Health.


The exemption allows ex-emergency medical services providers to come back and serve during this public health emergency. This exemption was made possible by Governor Tom Wolf's disaster declaration and will expire when the disaster declaration expires or is lifted.


During this emergency, an EMS provider, whose certification expired after Dec. 31, 2004, may apply to the state’s Department of Health to have their certification reinstated until Oct. 15, 2020.


Individuals using the exception may do so without examination or having to meet continuing education requirements. The exemption applies to Emergency Medical Responders (EMRs), Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) at the basic and intermediate levels, and paramedics.


In addition, those EMS providers who are currently certified in Pennsylvania will have their certification remain valid until the disaster declaration expires.


Providers whose certification expired after Feb. 1, 2010, may complete one continuing education cycle worth of required continuing education to have their certification fully reinstated.


The PA DOH has free continuing education available through its learning management platform, PATrain.


The exemptions are a boon to the multiple agencies throughout Pike and Monroe counties which need more paid and volunteer EMRs, EMTs, and paramedics to staff their ambulances.


Kyle Wright, captain of Delaware Township Volunteer Ambulance Corps, said, "There is an ongoing shortage of EMS providers in Pike and Monroe County, and this disaster has made it worse. If you can help, please reach out to your local ambulance service."


Jonathan Kulick Cummings, Director of Operations at Bushkill Emergency Corps, said his group, which serves northeastern Monroe County and part of southern Pike County, also need more members.


Those living in Pike County who who have questions about the reinstatement procedure can call Emergency Medical Services of Northeast Pennsylvania at 570-655-6818.


Monroe County residents can contact Eastern Pennsylvania EMS Council at 610-820-9212.