The city of Raytown has proposed consolidating their Emergency Medical Services (EMS) division to the Raytown Fire Protection District, which operates independent of the city. The move has been considered several times in the past, most recently in 2015.
The city receives mutual aid responses from the Kansas City Fire Department – 305 such responses in 2017 – and hopes that this change will improve Raytown response times, unified command operations, continuity of leadership, and additional fire suppression personnel.
Damon Hodges, interim city administrator, noted that Raytown is the last city in the metro area that has separate fire and EMS services.
“This is a good time to move forward with that,” Hodges said. He said that the city’s population is continuing to age, with residents over the age of 65 projected to make up 20% of the population by 2022, and that these are the residents who are most likely to use EMS services.
Raytown currently has 13 full-time EMS employees. If the proposal is approved, those positions will no longer exist effective Nov. 17. Hodges said that the fire department will seek to hire 13 additional employees and that current EMS technicians will be given preferential hiring, as long as they’re willing to obtain fire I and fire II certifications.
“It’s hard any time you talk about job loss, but we will help as much as we can with the transition of those employees,” Hodges added.
Moving the EMS division will require a new license and tax levy to be approved by voters.