Mo. city resumes using its fire department for emergency ambulance calls

The city hired 12 firefighters/paramedics to staff the and supplement the existing fire department workforce


By Mark Schlinkmann
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

UNIVERSITY CITY, Mo.  — After four years of contracting with a private company, University City on Saturday moved its emergency ambulance service back to the city-run fire department.

Mayor Terry Crow, who as a City Council member had opposed the outsourcing, said the city had hired 12 new firefighter/paramedics to help staff the service and supplement the existing fire department workforce.

Supporters of the outsourcing also said it would improve response times and reduce the possibility of exhausted firefighters working 48-hour shifts. (Photo/City of University City, Missouri)
Supporters of the outsourcing also said it would improve response times and reduce the possibility of exhausted firefighters working 48-hour shifts. (Photo/City of University City, Missouri)

A celebratory event marking the switchover was held Saturday at one of the city's fire stations.

The shift in 2015 to Gateway Ambulance, championed by then-Mayor Shelley Welsch in part as a cost-cutting move, came amid acrimonious political infighting on the council. Gateway was bought by Arkansas-based Medic One earlier this year.

Supporters of the outsourcing also said it would improve response times and reduce the possibility of exhausted firefighters working 48-hour shifts. Critics warned that the quality of service would go down. The city's firefighters union also worked against the plan.

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McClatchy-Tribune News Service
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