Fire and EMS Continue to Look for Common Ground in Subcommittee

by Devin Katayama on August 9, 2011

Louisville’s Merger 2.0 Task Force subcommittee on fire and EMS met on Tuesday. As the Oct. 1 deadline for recommendations nears, the two departments are struggling to find common ground.

The subcommittee meeting was at times contentious. Fire and EMS have different opinions on how to proceed with the conversation about possible changes to either agency.

Fire officials said they want to look at data and different models that might shed some light on how to be more efficient. EMS said the subcommittee doesn’t have the time or the information to make any major recommendations, such as a merger.

“It might be reasonable to ask an external group to come in who has got serious expertise in this. Everybody here has expertise but this is a pretty time consuming project,” said Dr. Neal Richmond, the director of Louisville Metro EMS.

Richmond said it’s a difficult project to take on with the amount of time and resources the subcommittee has.

Both departments agree that public safety and patient care is a top priority. But the logistics and decisions behind how to operate was sometimes at odds. Members from both sides did recommend improving communication and suggested offering similar technology to all departments so that accountability was consistent.

Each subcommittee member will prepare five suggestions for both fire and EMS at the next meeting on Aug. 23. They will also continue to review data and information, and search for areas where the departments can be more efficient.

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