ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - The Albuquerque firefighters' union says the city's plan to switch-up paramedic staffing is a bad idea, and they say they're willing to forgo a pay bump to fund a different plan.
The city's plan is to split up paramedic teams, spreading them across more Albuquerque Fire Department vehicles. Recently, the City Council approved AFD spending nearly a million dollars for new equipment to make this change.
Currently there are two paramedics on every rescue unit. The city's plan is to put one of these paramedics on a fire engine equipped with an advanced life support system, leaving the other on a rescue unit. It would greatly increase the number of AFD vehicles with paramedics and advanced life support capabilities.
Many paramedics, say they're concerned this could hurt their responses in the field.
"To me, dilution is not the solution," Marvin Gouch, a longtime AFD paramedic, said. "We need to stick with what we know in order to continue to give citizens the best that we can offer them."
Gouch and other paramedics told KRQE News 13 they're not sure this change is the best thing for the people of Albuquerque.
"If this is just a shell game of moving medics around trucks, then we definitively do not support it because it can dilute the system that stands," Jed Hyland, an AFD paramedic captain, said.
Diego Arencon, the president of the firefighters' union, IAFF Local 244, said AFD personnel is willing to give up the one percent pay raise proposed by the mayor's office to prevent the change. Instead, the union suggests using that money to keep two paramedics on rescue units and add a paramedic on a fire engine, gradually phasing this in over time.
But AFD Fire Chief James Breen insists the staffing switch-up is in the city's best interest.
"For the high-acuity calls, you're still going to get two paramedics responding on two separate units," Chief Breen said. "One of those units will get there earlier. They'll begin paramedic-level interventions. They'll make a difference in patient outcomes, and we're going to save more lives with this."
Chief Breen said AFD is in the process of buying the new advanced life support systems, but he says a committee of AFD personnel is still trying to come up with a final staffing plan.
Arencon said the union will be working toward a budget resolution for their proposal to keep two paramedics on rescue units.
Some brazen thieves made off with a man's prized possession, and now the victim is hoping for some holiday justice. Little did the suspects' know, their entire crime was caught on camera.
After a solid win versus Rio Grande rival NMSU earlier in the week, the Lobos continue their tough play defeating Cincinnati 63-54.
The Lobos Men's soccer team advances to the College Cup after a 1-0 win over Washington in Seattle.
Authorities in Valencia County say a man broke into his girlfriend’s home and attacked her and her mother with a hatchet.
Albuquerque may have the biggest paint-by-number drawing in the New Mexico, and soon, a neighborhood will pitch in to finish it.
A vehicle used in war will soon hit the streets in Farmington.