I am the vice president of IAFF Local 1348 that represents both the Muncie Fire Department (MFD) and Delaware County EMS (DCEMS). I felt like I need to respond publicly regarding the article and the city’s press release regarding the city’s investigation into its own ambulance service.
Both organizations are filled with top-notch individuals that I am proud to be associated with. Here is a little background and information to be considered when discussing the city’s investigation into fire-based EMS.
As I have traveled around the state for my union duties it is really clear that MFD is one of the last fire departments of any size that does not offer the full array of emergency services both in the state and nationally. Here in Delaware County we have a unique situation. Why? You have to look at our history. When home-based EMS services first arrived in the early 1970s, Delaware County had a rapidly growing economy thanks to a robust manufacturing sector, therefore, local politicians felt no pressure to streamline services. Now fast forward to 2017, with the realities that we face with a transforming economy and property tax caps. No one should fault Mayor Dennis Tyler or Chief Eddie Bell for at least exploring the possibility. That’s all that seems to be happening at this point is exploration.
As a union official representing both entities I can say Local 1348 has also taken steps to educate ourselves and prepare ourselves for this possibility. Here are some of the issues we face and responses to some of the issues mentioned…