Dallas Fire-Rescue Launches New Program to Efficiently Staff Ambulances

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Dallas Fire-Rescue is launching a new pilot program called Single-Role Paramedic Pilot Program for six months. The program aims to mitigate burnout, long response times, and staff overtime with a new approach to staffing its ambulances.

Dallas Fire-Rescue Chief Dominique Artis said the department averages around 210,000 calls for EMS service every year. He added that the number keeps rising, especially during the pandemic. Artis said the problem is that the department’s resources are being stretched thin.

“We have to think outside of the box to see how we can be more efficient with the resources that we have,” said DFR Chief Dominique Artis.

The department’s need to think “outside of the box” gave birth to the idea of the “Single-Role Paramedic Pilot Program.” In the new program, a single-role paramedic is focused on EMT skills and not fighting fires.

The department usually pays overtime to staff the advanced life support units with firefighter paramedics to run during peak hours. Under the pilot program, those ambulances would be staffed by single-role paramedics.

The Dallas Fire-Rescue department officials said they would first use internal staff to determine if the model works. If the model works, Dallas Fire-Rescue will begin recruiting and hiring single-role paramedics.

Asst. Chief Justin Ball said the paramedics would work in a more traditional daily shift. “This is very preliminary at this point,” he said. “It would be either a 10-hour shift or a 12-hour shift.” Dallas Fire-Rescue will look to hire twelve full-time paramedics if the pilot program becomes a success.

Artis said that fire chiefs from other departments had contacted him since he presented the plan to the city’s public safety committee. He said that if the project succeeds, it could serve as a model for fire departments nationwide.

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