Today, Pearland officials announce plans to consolidate its uniformed and civilian work forces of the Pearland Fire Department and Pearland Emergency Medical Services Department – the culmination of a 3-year effort to create a unified department.
“I think it’s safe to say that it is not only better for our employees, but better for public safety in the City,” fire department Chief Vance Riley said.
Under the new model, current employees may voluntarily train as firefighters — including those who intend to work primarily as emergency medical providers. The City’s 36 paramedics and emergency medical technicians may elect to be trained in spring 2014 as certified structural firefighters.
Members of the fire department who are instructors certified by the Texas Commission on Fire Protection will teach the fire academy for paramedics and EMTs who choose to attend.
Earlier this year, the Fire and EMS Chiefs selected a joint team of employees to provide recommendations regarding consolidation. The team presented recommendations to the two department Chiefs who then turned those recommendations into a phased consolidation plan, which was presented and accepted by Pearland City Council in October.
Phase one, which will occur through September 2014, includes work to decide on a department name and logo and employee cross-training in an effort to seamlessly consolidate the two departments. Phase two, which will start in late 2014, includes a final alignment of the consolidated department’s organizational chart and moving both departments to a new shift schedule.
“It’s an obvious next step given the City’s Fire and EMS Departments now share common dispatch and tactical radio frequencies, dispatch protocols, and a medical director,” EMS department Chief Daniel Baum said.
“The consolidation of the two departments symbolizes the beginning of a new era for emergency services in Pearland. Two great departments have been merged into one that will better serve the community. Our
firefighters and EMS personnel will be better trained and better equipped and our department will be more flexible to meet the demands of the future,” Baum continued.
The City of Pearland Fire Department has 6 stations with 3 apparatus on-duty 24/7 and responds to over 3000 calls a year and the City’s EMS Department is comprised of 4 ambulances (with a fifth to be added in early 2014) and a shift supervisor who responds to nearly 7,000 calls a year. Together, the consolidated department plans to enhance efficiency and improve response time to service calls.