‘DANGER AHEAD’: Portsmouth Professional Firefighters Paramedics Association warns public about low staffing

10 On Your Side

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — In a recent Facebook post, the Portsmouth Professional Fire Fighters & Paramedics Association warned the public on a staffing shortage.

“Today is a scary day to be a citizen, guest, or business owner in Portsmouth.”

Portsmouth Professional Fire Fighters & Paramedics Association

According to the Association, EMS2, a unit that responds to major medical calls, is down due to lack of staffing.

EMS2 is responsible for cardiac arrests, car accidents, shootings, stabbings and fires.

In their Facebook post, the Association adds that they believe this is due to city leaders needing to “allocate proper funding” to the fire department.

In the closing statement for the post, the group states that they will continue to try and provide effective emergency services with “less and less.”

The president of the union, Kurt Detrick, released this statement on Monday:

Yesterday this associations Facebook page posted about a unit out of service due to staffing. We have consistently advocated for enhanced staffing of the department, so we are best able to provide for the citizens of Portsmouth.

The elected leadership of this association will be meeting with City Management later this week to find solutions to this ongoing staffing issue. We have enjoyed a strong working relationship with our City Councilmembers over the years and are very much looking forward to working with city management so we can fix this problem.

Over the years this City Council has supported several key issues to improve the health and safety of our members, and we are confident we can work through this staffing issue.

10 On Your Side reached out to the City Manager’s Office, which provided an email from Portsmouth Fire Chief Jim Hoffler. In the email, which was sent a 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, November 3, Hoffler writes:

“Dr. Patton, due to the Paramedic Supervisor calling in sick, the EMS Supervisor unit was placed out of service. Their duties are being covered by one of the on duty Battalion Chiefs who is a fully certified and experienced paramedic. There is no reduction of service or loss of coverage. Deputy Chief Harrington is providing back up for the Fire companies om case there are multiple Fire responses.”

Reached by phone, Mayor John Rowe said he was told something similar.

“I happened to talk to two firefighters who are seniors in the fire department and they assured my that the city, the entire city, was covered,” Rowe said.

Portsmouth residents say they hope any staffing issues are resolved quickly.

“I’m concerned about everybody’s safety, especially my own,” said Christian Hoyett. “So you know, just try to make everything better so we won’t have to worry about that stuff.”

“I think it would be a good idea to get as many EMS people as necessary on board as quickly as possible,” said resident Gaudeor Rudmib.

Stay with WAVY.com for updates.

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