Baltimore Fire to dispatch fewer responders to fire alarms

BALTIMORE (AP) — Baltimore Fire officials say they plan to dispatch fewer firefighters to initial fire alarms, as departments see the number of medical emergency calls rise above those of fires.

A Wednesday memo stated three engines, one truck and one battalion chief will respond to alarms starting Sept. 1, down from the five engines, two trucks, two battalion chiefs and one medic unit that's considered a full assignment.

Seventeen personnel will respond, still higher than the National Fire Protection Association standard of 15.

Chief Niles R. Ford told The Baltimore Sun the reduction will free units for medical calls. More responders can be dispatched if needed.

Baltimore's firefighters union criticized the plan, saying it'd put responders and citizens in danger. Ford pushed back.

City council may hold a hearing on the changes.

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