1. #1
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    Question SFFD Restructuring

    What do you all think of this? I was under the impression that EMS/Fire mergers were inevitable, so I found this surprising.


    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/articl...AGQO8SR8O1.DTL

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    Default Ugh!

    I so want to comment on this article on so many levels. But, I
    am going to have to bite my lip for now.

    -Bou

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    Default

    Hmm musta been a glitch in the first attempt... anyhow for when it does go to archives:

    SAN FRANCISCO Fire Dept. to be restructured Firefighters and paramedics will cease to be merged

    Jaxon Van Derbeken, Chronicle Staff Writer Wednesday, September 22, 2004

    San Francisco's troubled Fire Department will soon be restructured under a plan hailed by the mayor as both improving service and saving the city $3 million a year.

    The new approach marks the end of a seven-year merger between the firefighter and paramedic ranks. The merger has been described as difficult by the department.

    In June, the San Francisco grand jury, which reviews city operations, found that the department was dogged by on-duty drinking and unchecked harassment of paramedics by firefighters in the wake of the 1997 merger. Union officials dispute the claims of harassment.

    Under the merger, paramedics said they endured a heavy workload and hostility from their firefighter colleagues at the firehouses where they both worked 24-hour shifts.

    Firefighters, among other things, claimed they could not sleep because of the sound of sirens from the responding ambulances housed at stations.

    Rather than continue with the merger, Mayor Gavin Newsom said Tuesday, he will create a three-tier system of paramedics, firefighters and firefighter paramedics. Once the system is in place in 18 months, he said, the city could save $3 million in salaries.

    "This will bring better service, better, more consistent responses," Newsom said. "From the taxpayer perspective, we're going to same money."

    At the entry level will be 200 lower-paid civilian paramedics and emergency medical technicians to staff the city's ambulances. They will be hired at $65,000 or more a year, $20,000 less than fully trained firefighter paramedics.

    The ambulance crews will be housed away from fire stations, and the crews will work 10 to 12 hour shifts, without the same benefits as their higher paid colleagues.

    The next rung will be firefighters, followed by the highest paid group, the firefighter paramedics created in the merger, who earn a starting wage of $85,000.

    The firefighter paramedics will no longer staff ambulances on a regular basis. Instead, they will be stationed at the city's 42 firehouses, riding with fire crews to provide emergency life support until ambulance crews arrive.

    Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White said the plan was "the best use of our resources" with a goal of a 4 1/2-minute response time within 18 months.

    Critics say the plan simply abandons the costly merger of the department at the behest of the powerful firefighters' union, Local 798.

    "The merger could have worked, but it didn't because of a lack of leadership," said Michael Creedon, a firefighter paramedic who is an outspoken critic of the current administration.

    Creedon and others worry that the paramedics assigned to stations will not have the variety of experience needed to keep up their skills, a contention dismissed by Hayes-White, who said the department would compensate for the change by increased training.

    The mayor's office and Fire Department tout the new plan as solving some long-running problems with the department, including fatigue. They point out that new ambulance crews will work only 10-12-hour shifts instead of 24 hour shifts to reduce fatigue.

    "Because of the high call volume, the workload became essentially unbearable," Hayes-White said.

    They say the new ambulance crew spots will also provide an entry level good avenue for minorities.

    But Kevin Smith, head of the San Francisco Black Firefighters Association, said the new plan wouldn't necessarily help minorities, who have to finance their own training before applying. "They say you have to get the training on your own, where the department provided it before," Smith said.

    E-mail Jaxon Van Derbeken at jvanderbeken@sfchronicle.com.
    Last edited by MalahatTwo7; 09-24-2004 at 05:52 PM.
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    Default Hmmmmmm...

    I clicked on the link and it came right up for me. Here ya go-


    San Francisco's troubled Fire Department will soon be restructured under a plan hailed by the mayor as both improving service and saving the city $3 million a year.

    The new approach marks the end of a seven-year merger between the firefighter and paramedic ranks. The merger has been described as difficult by the department.

    In June, the San Francisco grand jury, which reviews city operations, found that the department was dogged by on-duty drinking and unchecked harassment of paramedics by firefighters in the wake of the 1997 merger. Union officials dispute the claims of harassment.

    Under the merger, paramedics said they endured a heavy workload and hostility from their firefighter colleagues at the firehouses where they both worked 24-hour shifts.

    Firefighters, among other things, claimed they could not sleep because of the sound of sirens from the responding ambulances housed at stations.

    Rather than continue with the merger, Mayor Gavin Newsom said Tuesday, he will create a three-tier system of paramedics, firefighters and firefighter paramedics. Once the system is in place in 18 months, he said, the city could save $3 million in salaries.

    "This will bring better service, better, more consistent responses,'' Newsom said. "From the taxpayer perspective, we're going to same money.''

    At the entry level will be 200 lower-paid civilian paramedics and emergency medical technicians to staff the city's ambulances. They will be hired at $65,000 or more a year, $20,000 less than fully trained firefighter paramedics.

    The ambulance crews will be housed away from fire stations, and the crews will work 10- to 12- hour shifts, without the same benefits as their higher- paid colleagues.

    The next rung will be firefighters, followed by the highest paid group, the firefighter paramedics created in the merger, who earn a starting wage of $85,000.

    The firefighter paramedics will no longer staff ambulances on a regular basis. Instead, they will be stationed at the city's 42 firehouses, riding with fire crews to provide emergency life support until ambulance crews arrive.

    Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White said the plan was "the best use of our resources'' with a goal of a 4 1/2-minute response time within 18 months.

    Critics say the plan simply abandons the costly merger of the department at the behest of the powerful firefighters' union, Local 798.

    "The merger could have worked, but it didn't because of a lack of leadership,'' said Michael Creedon, a firefighter paramedic who is an outspoken critic of the current administration.

    Creedon and others worry that the paramedics assigned to stations will not have the variety of experience needed to keep up their skills, a contention dismissed by Hayes-White, who said the department would compensate for the change by increased training.

    The mayor's office and Fire Department tout the new plan as solving some long-running problems with the department, including fatigue. They point out that new ambulance crews will work only 10-12-hour shifts -- instead of 24- hour shifts -- to reduce fatigue.

    "Because of the high call volume, the workload became essentially unbearable,'' Hayes-White said.

    They say the new ambulance-crew spots will also provide an entry-level good avenue for minorities.

    But Kevin Smith, head of the San Francisco Black Firefighters Association, said the new plan wouldn't necessarily help minorities, who have to finance their own training before applying. "They say you have to get the training on your own, where the department provided it before,'' Smith said.
    Last edited by CALFFBOU; 09-24-2004 at 05:50 PM.

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    Default

    Hmmmm. This San Francisco taxpayer will have to bite her tongue right now as I need to read through this in more detail.

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