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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Fire districts raise concerns about county EMS plan



The Pinellas County Commission will decide Tuesday whether to revise service standards for response to 911 medical calls. One result: The 19 fire districts in Pinellas that get money from a countywide property tax may lose paramedics and rescue trucks.

Even some fire chiefs say there is duplication and waste in the current system and that changes must be made in this poor financial climate. But that doesn't mean chiefs are happy seeing the standards change, a move that's taking place before the county renegotiates contracts with the districts.

Though the county projects only modest increases in response times in a handful of areas, some chiefs question the numbers and are preparing their own analysis.

"You don't cut and not have an impact," said St. Petersburg fire Chief James Large.

Don't expect this issue to go away, contract negotiations won't be swift and the devil will be in the details. Elected officials, city managers and fire chiefs will all be making their voices heard.

Will Van Sant, Times Staff Writer


[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 11:45am]


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