LOCAL FIRE STATION WARNS EMERGENCY RESPONSE MAY DECREASE AFTER COVID DRAINS FUNDS FROM CITY BUDGET

by: Aliah Williamson
January 3, 2021

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – An agreement between the city of Dayton and Dayton Fire Station 10 expired on January 1, 2021. According to Dayton Firefighters Local 136 union president, Kraig Robinson, this will lead to a decrease in service to the area station 10 responds to. The agreement made in 2019 stated the city would provide funding to pay at least 2 paramedics to operate Medic 10, a medical transport unit, every day. They agreed to this funding instead of applying for the federal SAFER grants which came with certain staffing requirements for three years.

But in 2020, the city decided to withdraw the overtime funding for Medic 10. This means that there are days where there are not enough emergency personnel to operate all emergency equipment at one time in the area of Station 10. “It does effect the fact of how quickly we get there and the number of equipment we have in service every day,” explained Robinson.

Dayton City Manager Shelley Dickstein released the following statement: City leadership remains focused on ensuring the safety and well being of our citizens. For this reason, the city allotted several hundred thousand dollars in overtime funding for Medic 10 prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, the Dayton Fire Department overtime was nearly $750,000 over budget in 2020. The COVID pandemic has significantly affected our revenues and has forced us to make $20 million in cuts to the general fund. That reduction required each department to make staffing cuts of 1.92% To continue the agreement in 2021 would create a detrimental financial impact that we would not be able to absorb.

Robinson says cutting funding for emergency responders during a pandemic can have a serious impact on the community. He is asking that the city reconsider applying for the SAFER grant in the future, or returning the funding to Station 10. “We’re out there on the frontline dealing with COVID…All we’re asking for is the city to do the right thing during the global pandemic,” said Robinson.