AirTalk for April 17, 2013

L.A. Fire Chief to shift firefighters from engines to ambulances

lafd ambulance

Photo by KristaLAPrincess via Flickr Creative Commons

Should firefighters be reassigned to deal with medical emergencies?

The Los Angeles Fire Department announced a new plan to reassign dozens of firefighters from engines to rescue ambulances as the number of medical emergencies continues to rise. Fire Chief Brian Cummings' plan would shift 60 firefighters to ambulance crews, reducing the number of firefighters working on each engine.

The plan also would add 11 new ambulances to the city's fleet. The firefighters, who are emergency medical technicians, do not have the advanced life-saving skills of a licensed paramedic. Instead, they would staff non-paramedic units that respond to basic requests for medical treatment. The plan is opposed by labor groups representing firefighters and department commanders who claim reducing engine crews will put firefighters at risk.

Should firefighters respond to medical emergencies? What is the best way to utilize resources and skills? Is it dangerous to reassign firefighters to ambulance crews? 

Guest:

Captain Armando Hogan, community relations officer for the LA Fire Department


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