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Ohio city officials increase full-time staffing for emergency services

Tipp City officials highlighted staffing and response time improvements in a budget review


Tipp-Monroe Fire Association/Facebook

By Nancy Bowman
Dayton Daily News

TIPP CITY, Ohio — Eight months after Tipp City Council voted to create a full-time emergency services department, its previous staffing of two-full time positions will have reached 14 by the end of November.

Emergency Services Chief Cameron Haller said during a recent 2024 city budget review with council that, with changes made since the March vote, both staffing and response time have improved.

After a budget report last year was mostly negative, this year’s was focusing on the positives already being seen and anticipated.

The city and Monroe Twp., which partners with the city on paying for fire and EMS operations, reviewed for several years options to the traditional volunteer and part-time department staffing structure.

That structure worked for decades until recent years when volunteer numbers dropped due to added training requirements, changes in family dynamics and other factors. It also is becoming more difficult to attract part-time emergency personnel, council was told.

City council voted 4-3 in late March to approve a new structure to go along with the full-time positions of chief and assistant chief. The plan at the time was to hire four full-time captains by fall followed by 12 full-time dual certified employees over the next five years. The department will continue to have part-time employees and volunteers, as available.

The four full-time captains began work in August.

A few weeks before in July, council looked at the plan again after members expressed concerns about complaints, they were receiving such as the time it took for response to a fire and the lack of an ambulance available for a call for a near-drowning of a child.

Administrators were directed to quickly come up with a plan to change that situation. In August, the accelerated hiring of the planned full-time employees was authorized. The department received 40 applications with eight of those people scheduled to begin work Nov. 19, Haller said.

The hirings brought a budget increase of approximately $800,000. Monroe Twp. trustees pay 27 percent of department costs as part of its contract for services. The city also has funds available from the change in allowable use of a portion of the city income tax from capital improvements to general municipal operations, said John Green, city finance director. The change was approved by voters in November 2022.

Haller said in the Oct. 23 report that department improvements include the captains on duty 24-7. “It has been a nice increase, a jolt to motivation within the station,” he said. Other changes include a paramedic on duty at all times and firefighters on duty at all times.

City Manager Tim Eggleston said hiring the captains for the department command structure was needed to be able to hire the additional emergency personnel. The chief or the assistant chief may not be available due to a number of variables, he said.

“There will be an established line of command so the additional emergency personnel hired know they have someone to respond to with questions and can address issues as they come up during their shift,” he said.

The eight added employees will allow a minimum of three employees on shift daily. “Barring any strange anomalies. Our hope is that part-timers will still sign up for shifts to enhance coverage during the week. Time will tell,” Haller said.

Councilman Robert Schwab encouraged Haller to “keep improving the performance measures” including response times.

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