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Iowa council limits hiring of FFs to fill EMS positions

Sioux City council capped the number as the fire department moved to hire more FFs to fill vacant EMS positions

By Dolly Butz
Sioux City Journal

SIOUX CITY, Iowa — The Sioux City Council green-lighted the addition of 11 more firefighter positions Monday, which will help Sioux City Fire Rescue fully staff ambulances.

The city has seen more firefighter candidates than EMT and paramedic candidates. Last month, the council voted to add four firefighters positions.

One of the resolutions the council approved Monday deletes three EMS medical technician positions and eight paramedic positions. The resolution also adds 11 firefighter positions.

The council took action to limit the number of firefighters that can be hired to fill vacant EMS positions through attrition or retirements. Going forward, that number will be capped at 15.

“The original (resolution) requested that the whole operating division of the EMS division be replaced by firefighters over time, whereas now, we are capping that at 15 positions,” Fire Chief Tom Everett said. “We’ve already done four, so we’re asking for 11 more firefighter positions.”

Firefighters are required to have an Iowa EMT certification before being hired and they currently perform EMT and paramedic duties, including being first responders on emergency medical services calls. The move to hire firefighters to fill current vacant EMT and paramedic positions will increase the amount of time Medic 5 in Morningside is staffed and decrease overall overtime.

Sioux City Fire Rescue started the new EMS division on Jan. 1, 2018 to fill the void left by Siouxland Paramedics, the nonprofit agency that stopped providing emergency services due to financial difficulties.

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