Fire Fighters Union Fights Budget Cuts

By: Sherelle Roberts Email
By: Sherelle Roberts Email

There's an old saying that change is good. But first responders say that's not the case, when it comes to saving lives, they say, the way they do it now works just fine. "We've had three person staffing on the ambulances for over 30 years, says", Mark Blankenship with the Lexington Professional Firefighters union.

But that thirty year service tradition--of two paramedics and one driver per patient-- needs to change according to a team of hired money saving consultants. The consultants have told Mayor Jim Newberry and Lexington Fayette Urban County Council that to cut the budget, one paramedic will do.

Blankenship with the fire fighter union says that's foolish. "Anybody with common sense can tell you that having two people working on you instead of one has to be better, he added, "...establishing I.V.'s, administering, drugs, hooking up a heart monitor, managing airways, monitoring the patient, interviewing the patient, not one person can do that just by themselves".

The city's hired consultants say other cities do the job with one. But Blankenship says, Lexington Fire isn't willing to sacrifice quality. "To give everybody the standard of care they are accustomed to is to send two trucks instead of one. So you'd either get two ambulances or continue to get an engine as a first responder and an ambulance".

But he says that will tie up people and resources from dealing with other emergencies. He adds that people should really ask themselves, when you're life is on the line, "What do you want, what are you willing to pay for?"


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