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City council offering solutions to TRAA leaders to fix paramedic shortage

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Fort Wayne's NBC) - Leaders with Three Rivers Ambulance Authority (TRAA) were called before the Fort Wayne City Council to discuss the paramedic shortage.  

City Council members are pushing for change.

They say they are hoping to give TRAA paramedics some relief and reduce response times. 

"It gets to you mentally and physically,” TRAA advanced EMT Brandi Bowers said. “We’re not complaining about taking care of our patients, it’s how many we take care of. We want that to be divided up.” 

Bowers says they are asking the city council for help.  

"It’s hard to eat. It’s hard to do anything. We are constantly behind,” TRAA paramedic April Gregg said. “We’re constantly getting off late.” 

Leaders from TRAA and the Fort Wayne IAEP 525 Union offered up some long-term solutions. 

"Overtime mandatory work, lack of staff,” President of the IAEP Union Ian Case said. “We are persevering and bringing all the solutions to the table.”   

One solution suggest is implementing a tiered system, which means prioritizing their Advanced Life Support nits (ALS) for life threatening emergency responses only and using Basic Life Support (BLS) units for other calls. 

"Not every ambulance call requires a paramedic unit,” Executive Director Gary Booher said. “We want to give relief to some of our staff who are overworked.” 

Council questioned whether the organization was working hard enough on recruitment.  
Councilwoman Sharon Tucker also suggested hiring an outside consultant to advise them on their progress.  

"I think that the solutions they put together are good ideas, we’ve already put some of those solutions into place,” TRAA Chief Operating Officer Mike Bureau said. “We want to make sure we do it right and have everything in place. We will work through it as quickly as we can to get that relief.” 

TRAA executives will be meeting with Fort Wayne City Council again in 4 to 6 weeks to evaluate their progress.  

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Karli VanCleave

Karli VanCleave is a multimedia journalist at WPTA for the evening newscast. Karli is a Fort Wayne native and Indiana University Bloomington graduate.
Feel free to connect with her on Facebook (@KarliVanCleaveNews) and Twitter (@Karli_VanCleave), or if you have a story idea send her an email at kvancleave@wpta21.com.

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