Cleveland EMS Workers Cross-Training with Firefighters

Six EMS paramedics began eight weeks of training today at the Fire Training Academy in what city officials said shows the strength of their commitment to integrate the divisions of Fire and EMS, reports The Cleveland Plain Dealer.

The paramedics will join a class of fire cadets who are  already training at the academy.

The merger of the departments has been a point of controversy in the past between city officials and the unions representing EMS workers and firefighters.

But in an era of fewer structural fires and growing numbers of medical emergencies, city officials say they envision a Division of Fire, Rescue and Emergency Medical Service staffed by men and women cross-trained in both fighting fires and providing emergency medical care.

Fire trucks sent out on medical calls would house advanced life support technology and rescuers capable of using it. And fire trucks and ambulances would be dispatched using a highly coordinated, efficient system that maximizes resources and saves time.

Read more of the story here

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