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Unions Reject Idea of Cutting Paramedics

COLUMBUS (Ben Garbarek) -- A proposed cost-saving measure is upsetting some union leaders.

The Columbus Firefighters Local 67 said the City is looking into cutting back the number of paramedics sent on an emergency call from two to one.  Typically two paramedics go out with an EMT. 

They contend two heads are better than one during an emergency.

"These paramedics are making very quick, life-changing decisions," said Jack Reall, the president of the Local 67.  "(Often paramedics are making these decisions) at 3 o'clock in the morning, sometimes after taking 25 or 26 runs in 24 hours and (they're) very fatigued."

City leaders said there's no concrete plan on the table.

Union leaders contend fewer paramedics will inevitably lower the level of care, which could potentially jeopardize someone's life.

"I don't want it to be (worse) a tenth of a percent of the time," Reall said.  "That tenth of a percent of the time might be my family that's being treated."

Union bosses said this is an idea that's come up many times recently.  They're concerned it could pick up steam and go into effect in a matter of weeks.

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