Detroit is combining EMS, firefighting roles to address understaffing

The dual roles will come with a pay increase, though the plan will take at least two months to implement due to training


By Leila Merrill
FireRescue1/EMS1

DETROIT — Detroit is combining the firefighter and EMS roles, Fox2 reported Thursday.

"All our EMS employees will start to be brought over to the fire department and act in a dual role," said Thomas Gehart, Detroit Fire Fighters Association president.

Those in the newly created EMS-firefighter role will have the following schedule:
Those in the newly created EMS-firefighter role will have the following schedule: "For 12 hours of your 24-hour shift, they will be on an EMS rig and the other 12 on a fire squad or truck," said Thomas Gehart, Detroit Fire Fighters Association president. (Photo/Mandi Wright, Detroit Free Press)

The idea was made official in the most recent contract negotiation and includes higher pay for those in a dual role.

"For 12 hours of your 24-hour shift, they will be on an EMS rig and the other 12 on a fire squad or truck," he said.

The city is currently down 200 firefighters and 100 EMS providers, and the plan has not yet been put into action, according to the union.

Fire Commissioner Charles Simms said the plan will take time to implement.

“We don't want to deplete EMS to do this crossover training. For some of the EMS members, it is going to take 8 to 10 weeks to train them," he said.

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