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Government and Politics

Cleveland firefighters voting on work rules for merger with EMS
Ongoing department merger aimed at saving money and boosting service

Kevin Niedermier
One of Ohio's largest cities is among the last to merge fire and EMS.
Courtesy of Cleveland Fire Department
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Cleveland firefighters are voting on a new rules and compensation package offered by the city as it moves forward with plans to integrate its fire and EMS departments. The voting began Wednesday and will end today.

LISTEN: Working out the merger details

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Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson has pushed combining the fire and EMS departments to increase efficiency. Many times, the city’s firefighters and paramedics are dispatched to the same locations. Under the new plan, firefighters, who are being trained as paramedics, can drive ambulances to the scene. While the new system is being rolled out, the firefighters are now deciding if they like what the city is offering them. 

Frank Szabo is president of the Cleveland Firefighters Union.

“The city made that announcement to the union a year ago, maybe a year and a half ago, that was the direction the city was going and that it would negotiate with the union on matters of wages, hours of duty and working conditions, work rules if you will. So the parties engaged in that process, and now we vote on that.”

Szabo believes combining the two departments will be beneficial to the city.  Many larger cities have already integrated their fire and EMS services to save money.

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