City Council and Firefighters Propose Fire Stations Hire Paramedics - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

City Council and Firefighters Propose Fire Stations Hire Paramedics

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YAKIMA, Wa.- Yakima fire stations get over 9,000 calls everyday and firefighters respond to emergency situations as soon as possible, but what happens when a victim's life is at risk?

"If we're there first and we don't have paramedics, there's only so much we can do," said Deputy Fire Marshall Ron Melcher.

This is why the fire department and city council are trying to raise more money. They're proposing to increase the current EMS levy, having the average home-owner pay $3.43 more each month. That money would pay to put a paramedic on each fire truck and add another dispatcher.

"I think anything within $5 should be reasonable to have that extra protection," said Yakima Resident Venue Beluem.

The new levy proposal would be limited to the city of Yakima and would also pay for new equipment. Firefighters say they will be able to respond faster.

"This would increase the survivability for anyone cause now you've got a paramedics and now advanced skills can be performed on you sooner," said Deputy Melcher.

Plans for the new levy are being considered for the November election ballot and if voters pass this proposal, the city would have $1,300,000 more to spend on emergency medical services.

"If it makes the difference in saving lives I know those people will be saying its okay to pay a little more," said Deputy Melcher.

The Yakima City Council will host a hearing on July 22nd to get public opinion on the EMS issue and then vote whether to put it on the November ballot. If it's put on the ballot, it'll take a 60 percent super majority vote for this to pass.

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