Smitherman calls for more amalgamation: merger of fire department, paramedics

Smitherman calls for more amalgamation: merger of fire department, paramedics

If merging Scarborough and Etobicoke was the kind of thing that only a hard-headed provincial politician could do, maybe this is the next chapter: George Smitherman wants to merge Toronto’s fire and EMS services to reduce response times. The Globe and Mail reports:

“The average response time for ambulances has grown to be more than 12 minutes,” Mr. Smitherman told reporters outside a downtown EMS station. “In most cases fire trucks are on the scene in less than six minutes. Those six minutes are a precious opportunity to save lives.”

Mr. Smitherman said he would strike a task force to sort out the particulars, including whether the combined service should report to a single chief or put paramedics and firefighters in the same vehicle – something he’s leaning against at the moment.

Smitherman also says that a successful merger would require making EMS an essential service and removing its right to strike; amazingly, not-so-furious George has found the one profession in Toronto that actually wants to lose that right. (Both unions are opposed to an actual merger, though.)

The Post adds, helpfully, that at his press conference, Smitherman was wearing a blue tie to support Greece in the World Cup yesterday. Whoops.

Smitherman would blend paramedic, firefighting services [Globe and Mail]
Merge fire and emergency services: Smitherman [Toronto Sun]
Smitherman envisions combined fire, emergency service []
Smitherman: Firefighters should swallow EMS [National Post]
George Smitherman proposes combining fire and EMS [Toronto Star]

Image: fire truck, Loozrboy; ambulance, Julie, Dave & Family