Ambulance company lays off hundreds of workers in Virginia

HOPEWELL, VA (WWBT) - Some hospitals in Virginia were left scrambling after a private ambulance service, First Med EMS, suddenly shuts down.  Now, hundreds of emergency workers in Virginia are without a job.

One of the laid off EMTs who lives in Hopewell reaches out to NBC12 for answers.  Derek Griffin found out about the lay offs online while on his shift at Tappahannock Riverside hospital on Saturday.

But the company isn't providing any answers to its former employees.

For five years, Griffin has saved countless lives.  He's even received an award for saving a man who went into cardiac arrest.

"I love what I do," he said.  "I love taking care of people."

Griffin is a volunteer EMT with Hopewell, but his job with First Med EMS, a private ambulance company, paid the bills.  But now, Griffin has to hang up this uniform.

He is one of hundreds of emergency workers who were just laid off by the private ambulance company.

It happened during the middle of his shift, potentially disrupting emergency services there.

"We didn't know what to do, they told us to turn our truck in to turn our equipment in that was it," he said.

A spokesperson with the hospital says this shut down was unexpected, but they were able to call in another private ambulance service.

"The patient shouldn't have seen the impact," says Peter Glagola, the spokesperson for the hospital.  "There is no change in any type of service we have there.  The hospital is open 24/7 to take care of any health care needs."

First Med EMS has more than 2,000 employees nationwide. NBC12 tried to call the office headquarters, the phone has been disconnected.

"It was done so shadily and so behind closed doors," says Griffin.

Griffin says he will find another job.   But what angers him are the hundreds of other families now left with no income just a couple of weeks before Christmas.

There is a Facebook campaign to help former First Med EMS employees who may now be struggling to provide presents for their children this Christmas.  The link is under All Access.

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