Fort Worth to transition EMS services to fire department

June 14, 2024
EMS Fire engine ambulance

“This decision is right for the City of Fort Worth”: IAFF General President Edward Kelly

The Fort Worth City Council has unanimously approved a plan to transfer MedStar EMS transport services to the Fort Worth Fire Department.

This move, championed by Fort Worth, TX Local 440, aims to consolidate emergency services under the Fort Worth Fire Department’s umbrella, benefiting EMS personnel.

The City Council’s Ad Hoc Committee on Emergency Medical Response endorsed the transition away from MedStar in favor of the fire-based EMS model.

Thirteen nearby cities will also switch from MedStar.

Local 440 President Michael Glynn stated: “A fire-based system will allow the Fort Worth Fire Department to utilize sworn civil service personnel as the providers of the EMS transport system.

“This will increase the wages, benefits, and working conditions for the new single-role EMS providers and dispatchers transitioning from the existing EMS transport provider to the Fort Worth Fire Department.”

Local 440 consists of over 1,000 dual-role firefighters, with nearly 200 trained as paramedics.

Approximately 300 EMTs and paramedics are expected to join Local 440 as part of the transition.

IAFF’s role in the EMS integration plan

The International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) played a key role in developing an EMS integration plan.

This plan included a GIS study on the required number of ambulances and personnel to serve the Fort Worth area, a cost estimate, potential revenue reimbursement based on current Medicare rates, and optimal ambulance placement based on historical dispatch data.

IAFF General President Edward Kelly emphasized the benefits of the transition: “Fire fighters and emergency medical workers are experts on public safety, and when we are at the table, our voice is always used to make the communities we serve safer.

“This decision is right for the City of Fort Worth, ensures high-quality care for the community, and improves the pay and benefits of emergency medical workers.”

Financial considerations and expected timeline

MedStar, currently operating under the Metropolitan Area Emergency Medical Services Authority, has faced financial difficulties.

The union-backed integration into the fire department is seen as a solution to these challenges, promising better resource management and service delivery.

The new system is projected to cost around $10 million for the switch, according to the Fort Worth Report.

The City of Fort Worth estimates the EMS transition from MedStar will take 12-18 months to complete.

Local 440’s involvement in the decision-making process

Local 440 President Michael Glynn praised the union’s proactive role in the decision-making process.

He stated: “Once it began to look like the city was going to take on the responsibility for the EMS transport system, Local 440 began working with city staff and our elected officials to seek their approval of a system design that would be the best for the citizens we serve and our membership as a whole.”

Local 440 members, along with Fort Worth Mayor Mattie Parker, expressed their satisfaction with the final decision.

Glynn added: “We are proud of our involvement in this process and the final decision the City of Fort Worth has settled on.”

IAFF introduces new resources for volunteer fire departments

The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) has announced the introduction of two new free resources to aid volunteer and combination departments in recruitment and retention efforts.

The first resource is the long-awaited Recruitment & Retention app.

This app assists departments in building and managing recruitment and retention plans, budgets, and onboarding processes.

It features a built-in referral system, enabling prospective volunteers to send their information directly to their chosen department.

The second resource is a Fire Camp Guide.

Between 2021-2024, the IAFC distributed nearly $200,000 in federal grant funding to volunteer and combination departments to run Fire Camps for young people and underrepresented groups in the fire service.

The guide helps departments plan and execute successful Fire Camps.

For further information on these resources, contact IAFC’s Workforce Solutions staff.

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