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BTFD hosts Representative Haley Stevens to discuss fire service issues

On Friday, July 1, the Bloomfield Township Fire Department and Supervisor Dani Walsh led a conversation about the future of national fire department recruitment with Haley Stevens, Congressional Representative from Michigan’s 11th district.

“I was so honored to visit the Bloomfield Township Fire Department last week and learn about the incredible work they are doing and how I can best support them at the federal level,” said Congresswomen Stevens. “So many of our Bloomfield firefighters are second and third generation firefighters who have been firefighting for over 20 years. Our community is unbelievably grateful for their service and I can’t express how meaningful this visit was for me and how much I learned about the firefighting career.”

Fire Chief John LeRoy explained that hiring new recruits has become increasingly difficult. While the 24- hour shift work can mean four to five days off per week and overtime, managing the increased stress of the job may not seem worth the tradeoff. Additionally, national training standards do not exist, which makes hiring from state to state difficult. As a result, fire departments within a state compete for the same talent and firefighters enter a field that restricts mobility and potential advancement.

The discussion also touched on needing to increase the Medicare reimbursement rate for EMS transportation that has not kept pace with inflation. “This is gong to cause a collapse of the EMS industry. Private ambulance companies can’t survive the increased costs. Employee costs will really hurt them in an attempt to stay competitive,” said Chief LeRoy.

Assistant Chief Matt DeRousse added, “The Township Fire Department provides advanced life support transport to hospitals, but our transport revenues only make up a small portion of the cost.”

 

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