Should Lee County firefighters and EMS workers cross-train? - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Should Lee County firefighters and EMS workers cross-train?

June 12, 2007

Lee County--  The idea didn't get far in the past but a proposal to combine Lee County firefighters and EMS workers is back up for debate.

Supporters say cross-training firefighters and EMS workers would increase safety and reduce the insurance rating. Critics say workers would be paid one salary for doing two jobs.

Tuesday night, commissioners and safety leaders agreed a committee should be formed to look at the pros and cons of the idea.  The hope is that county leaders would have a clearer understanding and decide if it would be feasible.

"If they do it right, it'll work. If they do it haphazard, it won't work. Whatever they do, if they cross-train they're going to have to realize that they're going to have to compensate each employee that's getting double certification because they will be doing two jobs," said Lee County Interim Fire Chief Julian Tye.

"I think with the proper leadership and the proper study, there's a lot of pros and cons to it but there's a possibility that it will work," said EMS Director Bobby Watkins.

Watkins says there are a lot of unanswered questions. No matter what the outcome, he hopes to put the issue to rest soon.  

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