Volunteer firefighters butt heads over ambulance agreement
They can provide the same level of care without the ambulance, but there could be a delay in transporting patients
By EMS1 Staff
MORNINGSIDE, Md. — Volunteer firefighters at two fire stations are butting heads and threatening to remove an ambulance due to a new collective bargaining agreement.
WUSA9 reported that volunteers at Prince George’s County Fire and Morningside volunteer firefighters want to remove an ambulance owned and operated by the county, because the agreement forces additional staff to be at the fire station.
The Morningside Volunteer Fire Department is threatening to have it towed off their property, because the agreement mandates that four career firefighters be staffed around the clock, according to the report.
"For a volunteer organization to say we're not going to provide that service is unacceptable," Prince George's County Fire Chief Marc Bashoor said. Morningside Volunteer Fire Chief Michael White says it's about money and principle. The volunteers object to being forced to accept an agreement of which they had no ability to participate in the negotiations.
"They're saying we're not going to provide the service which is untrue. We're going to provide the same service as we've done since our existence," Chief White said.
Chief White says they can provide the same level of care without the ambulance, but admits there could be a delay in transporting patients, according to the report.
"There's a community that depends on that ambulance. Just in that response area, they run over 1,000 calls a year, that's 1,000 calls that will have to come from somewhere else," Chief Bashoor said. “Those are decisions that compromise public safety."
Chief Bashoor said he is prepared to strip Chief White of his rank if his order to keep the ambulance in place is not followed.