For citizens' safety

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My problem with transferring rescue services to the Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire is related to the safety of city residents, not animosity between myself and individual firefighters. I find most individual firefighters to be pleasant, helpful and some are even willing to learn on medical calls.

City residents are being misled by the claim that the rescue services will be shared. No plan has been presented that shows that the rescue services will be shared in the best interest of a patient. It is inevitable that when the lead of a rescue call is taken from a paramedic and given to a lower-level provider, eventually the rescue will no longer be patient-oriented but instead practice-oriented. It stands that many people requiring a rescue have some sort of critical injury or illness that requires not only treatment by a paramedic prior to performing the rescue, but oversight of the rescue by a paramedic to assure no additional harm is done. Anyone who scoffs at medically directed rescue doesn't understand the anatomy of a rescue call and is not properly trained.

I will never agree to shift any service that I currently provide competently to city of Pittsburgh residents as a Pittsburgh paramedic to any other department, bureau, service or provider until the city administration outlines a clear and acceptable plan. This includes how people will be trained, how the work will be divided, the procedures we will follow, the equipment that will be used and not only precisely how it will benefit the residents and visitors of the city but also how they can assure me that changing the current setup will do no harm.

The letter writer is a City of Pittsburgh paramedic.



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