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Fla. county, union face off over ‘no confidence’ vote against EMS leadership

Escambia County EMS union members say leadership has created an unsafe, toxic environment

By Bill Carey

ESCAMBIA COUNTY, Fla. — Escambia County EMS officials have responded to a “no confidence” vote by members of the International Association of EMTs and Paramedics for EMS Chief David Torsell and Deputy Chief Christopher Stephens.

The Escambia chapter of the International Association of EMTs and Paramedics delivered a letter to the Board of County Commissioners stating the union has tried unsuccessfully for years to resolve a toxic culture, WKRG reported.

The union claimed Torsell and Stephens implemented practices that have reduced the number of ambulances available and forced employees to work what they call “unsafe and unreasonable hours.”

“It is important to note that the views expressed by IAEP Local 325 do not reflect those of Escambia County, and many of the allegations in the letter are misleading, false, and based on opinion rather than fact.” Escambia County EMS said in a statement to WRKG.

The county did acknowledge some organizational challenges, “Escambia County and EMS leadership are aware of challenges with high call volumes and staffing levels, and we are working diligently to address those challenges with increased staffing and new ambulances.”