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.
KVOA-TV 4 Tucson
Officials in California are crying foul over a Trump administration plan to slash firefighting assistance payments to the state, which could amount to millions of dollars in lost income for fire departments.
The U.S. Forest Service, in turn, is accusing the local fire departments in the state of over-billing the federal government as part of a federal-state partnership, the California Fire Assistance Agreement (CFAA), that was inked in 2015 and expires in 2020.
The disagreement between state and federal fire officials now threatens to upend negotiations to extend that agreement, which state Fire and Rescue Chief Brian Marshall said is essential to combat not just wildfires, but other natural disasters in California.
“Local government fire departments respond across jurisdictional boundaries every day,” Marshall told McClatchy. “We cannot afford for this agreement to expire, that would have a devastating effect on the California wildfire system.”
There’s controversy over a bill that restores worker’s compensation for post-traumatic stress disorder for police and firefighters.
The bill, as it stands now, does not include the state’s EMTs, and they’d like that to change.
They say they want to be included in the PTSD legislation.
When tragedies occur in any community, whether it be a mass casualty incident, a deadly fire, or a vehicle wreck, many see police and fire fighters as first responders.
Senate bill 164 expands workers compensation benefits now to cover mental or emotional impairment by responding firefighters and police.
“It was a little disheartening to see that EMS was initially in this bill and was taken out of it,” said Derrick Caranci, EMT.
Now EMS personnel statewide have mounted a petition drive to get make sure they too can be approved for workman’s comp, should they be exposed to a post-traumatic stress incident, such as the mass shooting incident in Sandy Hook Elementary School.
WFSB-TV CBS 3
The job of paramedic conjures up the image of a someone rushing to an emergency in an ambulance, lights flashing and siren blaring — not Shelly Brown. She's a certified community paramedic with Regions Hospital in St. Paul who drives a Volkswagen Beetle, stops at red lights and leisurely enters clients' homes for check-ins.
She's part of Minnesota's small cadre of certified community paramedics, who visit patients at home to help them with transitions out of the hospital and with managing chronic conditions. The early results indicate the house calls improve patient satisfaction and reduce spending on medical care.
On a recent afternoon Brown dropped by Charlie and Diane Stuns' place in east St. Paul. Charlie Stuns, 64, suffered a stroke in February. He and Diane Stuns initially declined an offer of home visits when the hospital discharged him. But they changed their minds and gave community paramedicine a try.
Pueblo Fire Departments crews will soon be getting new technology to help them navigate through situations where fires create limited or no visibility at all.
The city has set aside $30,000 from a public safety grant match fund to purchase thermal imaging cameras that will attach to firefighters’ self-contained breathing apparatuses.
Every firefighting team at the department will be getting a camera, according to Rick Potter, the acting fire chief.
The firefighter who is wearing the camera can lift it up and look around for hot spots and other trouble areas in a structure when a fire is producing so much smoke that visibility is severely hampered.
“When you’re in a zero visibility condition, you will be able to bring that up to your mask and it will see through the smoke and create heat signatures,” Potter said. “In a very simplistic way, it’s like a night vision camera where at night you can’t see, but you bring that night vision camera up and you can all of a sudden.
“There are some limitations, like depth perception, but it does allow you to find hidden hot spots and other things like that.”
The Pueblo Chieftain