Lawrence Fire Department budget cuts impact response times
Half as many firefighters working as normal
Last Updated: 216 days ago
LAWRENCE, Ind. - Lawrence fire officials said response times are being impacted as a result of budget cuts.
Authorities said staffing concerns have forced them to pull equipment out of rotation.
Station 36 serves both Indianapolis and Lawrence. On Saturday evening a fire engine and ambulance were not being used to respond to emergencies.
“Today is one of those unfortunate days. Because of staffing, we couldn’t have an ambulance or an engine there,” said Battalion Chief Dino Batalis.
Batalis said normally 26 firefighters make up a full shift to protect more than 40,000 people in Lawrence.
There were only 12 firefighters plus another 6 taking EMS runs on ambulances Saturday.
“There is going to be some delay. It’s not like if you don’t have a piece of apparatus that is coming out of the station. The most logical thing is it’s going to be a delay in response time. There’s no other way around it. There’s no other way to phrase it other than it’s going to be some delays,” Batalis said.
Last year, Lawrence officials laid off 24 Emergency Medical Technicians to cut 15 percent of the budget. Now firefighters cover those positions.
Lawrence fire officials said the department is operating with 27 fewer people compared to this time last year.
“They’ve been through a lot in the last year, but they are dedicated to this community and they give 110 percent when they’re out there,” Batalis said.
Officials said they hoped to get the fire engine at the station operating as soon as possible.
They said they have pulled the ambulance indefinitely.
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