Manpower and resources are at a premium inside the Tucson Fire Department.
The city is looking to minimize the high call volume firefighters face.
“We are doing this for firefighter safety,” interim Tucson Fire Chief Joe Gulotta said. “It’s having an impact on their health. We’re seeing higher levels of sick leave, we’re seeing increase response times because crews are out of service in different areas all over town.”
Gulotta believes one solution is to hire civilian Emergency Medical Technicians to handle some of the low priority calls.
“When we have firefighters out on calls that don’t necessarily need that skill set, they’re not available to run those calls that we really need them on,” he said.
But this proposal is a non-starter with veteran firefighter Josh Campbell and the union he leads.
“Simply putting a civilian first responder into a system that’s already broken is not the solution in our mind,” Campbell said.