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Cleveland: Fire/EMS merger began today

6:45 PM, Feb 11, 2013   |    comments
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CLEVELAND -- Today the City of Cleveland began its integration between its fire department and Cleveland's EMS.

Two stations lost rescue squads that will be replaced by EMS ambulances. Senior Health Correspondent Monica Robins was outside Station 22.

The fire rescue squads that used to be housed here were like the Swiss army knife of fire apparatus -- able to handle complex rescues, fires and provide life support and transport to hospitals if needed.

They're being replaced by EMS ambulances because the city says 70 percent of emergency calls are medical, not fire-related.

Firefighters believe losing them puts lives at risk and some residents agree that a rescue squad can do everything an ambulance does and it can also respond to fires and rescue people out of fires.

The city says that by taking these steps, it will be able to provide a better service and a faster service to residents.

Late Monday, the City of Cleveland released an updated statement:

"Mayor Jackson is committed to moving forward with the integration of Fire and EMS to enhance service to the community. 70 percent of calls to Cleveland Fire are now medical in nature, rather than for structure fires, and this plan reflects that increase in medical calls."

"While Rescue Squads will no longer be at two locations, EMS ambulances will be stationed at those fire houses, along with the existing Fire Engines, ensuring that we can provide the pre-hospital care our community needs and still respond to structural fires."

"We're enhancing advanced life support throughout the city, going from 1 ALS Company to 5. And, we're adding two technical rescue units (replacing current rescue squads) to increase our ability to respond to special rescues. We believe this is the right step forward for our community."

WKYC-TV

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