PARMA HEIGHTS, Ohio (WOIO) - A staffing shortage at the Parma Heights Fire Department has them down to one ambulance squad a shift, and that will have a direct impact on safety in Parma Heights and Parma, according to Parma Heights Fire Union President Jerry Millek.
Parma Union President Anthony Hyatt agrees as he expects firefighters in the city to pick up the volume of calls that Parma Heights will not be able to handle.
“They may only feel that its going to affect them, but it’s going to ripple out to other cities and other communities as we start to cover their city for them,” Hyatt said.
Millek calls the staff shortages avoidable and devastating.
“Parma is basically subsidizing the city of Parma Heights,” Millek said
Parma Heights Mayor Michael Byrne posted on the city’s Facebook page that the safety of all city residents remains his highest priority, and that realigning daily staffing levels from 6 to 5 firefighters will have no effect on service.
Mayor Byrne does mention the possibility of using mutual aid from neighboring cities.
Hyatt, the Parma union president, says that mutual aid would be significant.
“Over a year we would end up at 700 to 800 calls that we would pick up,” he said.
Millek, the Parma Heights Union President claims the city has dragged their feet on hiring and that there is grant money available to help that process along and he disagrees with the Mayor claiming that having ONE instead of two ambulance squads available is a clear safety issue.
Hyatt worries about response times, in his community and in Parma Heights.
“In some areas of Parma Heights we can get there within 3 to 4 minutes but in other parts of the area we’re not going to be able to get there until 8 to 9 minutes later,” he said.