Controversy stirs over fire-based EMS that would cut paramedic jobs

City plans to begin fire-based emergency services would mean dozens of veteran paramedics would lose their jobs

By EMS1 Staff

MUNCIE, Ind. — A fire-based EMS plan that would cut jobs of veteran paramedics has created  controversy.

FOX59 reported that paramedics and their families filled council chambers when plans to create a city-based EMS agency were announced.

"Everyone knows what the red ambulances look like when they see them. Everyone knows who we are," Delaware County EMS Paramedic Kyle Thomas said.

Fire Chief Eddie Bell said six of the seven fire stations around the city would provide the services, which would consist of both BLS and ALS.

The plan would mean that dozens of paramedics would lose their job.

"Christmas is three weeks away and people are wondering if they’re gonna get notices that layoffs are coming in a week," Thomas said.

"Nothing against Delaware County EMS. We respect the services and the jobs that the guys do, but our response times are better. We think we can make things better for the citizens and actually charge a lesser rate," Chief Bell said.

Delaware County EMS Director Jason Rogers said the plan would not be cost-effective.

"There’s no way for the city to argue it’s cheaper for the city budget, because they currently pay us nothing," Rogers said.

Chief Bell said the plan would cost taxpayers nothing.

"We will use monies from my budget and also the RFP’s again will have to deal with some of that," he said. "Hopefully we’ll be able to defer some of the financing for some of the vehicles of that sort to a later date.  What we’re saying now is it’s time for the Muncie Fire Department to step up, do fire-based EMS and provide that service for our citizens ourselves.”

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