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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Selma City Council voted to contract with American Ambulance vs.CAL FIRE

 3 Selma Firefighters Laid Off; American Ambulance To Provide Fire Services

SELMA, Calif. (KMPH) - After two years in limbo, the fate of Selma's Fire Department has been decided.
After an emotional and heated debate, the Selma City Council voted to contract with American Ambulance.
They chose that route over contracting with Cal Fire, which is what many Selma firefighters wanted.
City officials say their decision is what makes the most sense, financially, for the city.
The decision means three Selma firefighters will be laid off, but American Ambulance says they will offer those firefighters jobs with its company.
Selma firefighters would no longer staff ambulances, as they do now.
Currently when the department answers emergency calls, one engine and an ambulance are sent out, with only one firefighter on the engine and two firefighters in an ambulance.
With the new contract, up to three firefighters will be staffed to an engine and two paramedics with American Ambulance would staff the ambulance.
Had the city awarded the contract to Cal Fire, no firefighters would be laid off.
But city leaders say in the long run, there could be unforeseen costs associated with that decision.
Anthony Rivas, the Selma Fire Association president, says he's expecting to get laid off.
He says taking a job with American Ambulance is like being demoted.
"Most people get into being paramedics to become firefighters. So it would be a step back. I've worked with American before... I don't find fault with them, I find fault with the council not being informed, with the city manager not giving information that was needed," said Rivas.
Rivas says at this point, he doesn't know if the soon-to-be laid off firefighters will take the offer by American Ambulance.
The changes will go into effect in the next couple of months.
City officials say residents should not see any changes in emergency response times.
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