EMTs concerned about new contracts, what it could mean for respo - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

EMTs concerned about new contracts, what it could mean for response time

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(WMC-TV) - There are growing concerns over changes to emergency responders contracts and what it could mean for your safety.

Right now Rural/Metro ambulances are assigned to certain fire stations. Some people are worried the new contracts would move them to the streets and tie them to a truck, rather than a station, which may hurt response times.

"Being a medic is extremely important to whoever does it," said an EMT who wanted to remain anonymous. He is concerned about a new ambulance contract proposed in Shelby County. "The contract, as it stands now, we work with the individuals and with the fire departments. We are located with them. Eat our meals with them. We bunk in the same room that they do."

This EMT works 24 hour shifts, three days on and four days off. They rely heavily on built in overtime.

"That overtime is what people in my profession live on," he said.

But the proposed contract will likely run on eight, 12, and 24 hour shifts, which is something that worries EMTs like this one, who expects a 15-20 percent pay cut with the new hours.

Many of those questions will be answered on May 15 when the proposed contract is presented to the board.

The Shelby County public works director could not share specifics, but he did say they have selected American Medical Response as their transportation company and they it will be held to the same performance standards as the previous vendor, meaning response times will not change.

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