Firefighters, paramedics protest possible plan to hire private ambulance company

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BROOK PARK, Ohio- Firefighters and paramedics from across the area joined fellow firefighters in Brook Park for a demonstration before Tuesday night's city council meeting.

"Privatizing EMS is unsafe, unfair and hurts us all," said Matt Wright, president of the firefighter’s union, Local 1141.

"They're fighting for their future and I'm fighting for the future of this city," said Brook Park Mayor Tom Coyne.

Firefighters are protesting a potential plan by Mayor Tom Coyne to hire a private ambulance company to provide emergency medical service for city residents.

After the protest outside, hundreds packed city council chambers, to voice their concerns, even though a formal proposal has not yet been made.

"The fire department's upset. We're looking at privatizing rubbish collection in the city. We're looking at outsourcing the billing department, outsourcing the tax department...ok, this city has some financial issues and we're gonna make decisions for the city going forward," said Coyne.

"We're just trying to send a message, clear message early that this is not the way to go. Fire-based EMS is the way to go; it's far superior of a system to have to provide EMS to the community," said Wright.

Mayor Coyne admits that if EMS services are privatized, firefighter jobs could be in jeopardy.  Residents, like Larry Dooley, who suffered cardiac arrest in December, said they want city paid firefighters to stay on the job.

"They're telling me I was dead for half an hour on the floor of my shop, right around the corner over there and they got me back. They took me to Southwest and they saved my butt and I'm grateful," said Brook Park resident, Larry Dooley.