Columbus Fire Department seeking safety levy - | News, Weather & Sports in Billings, Montana

Columbus Fire Department seeking safety levy

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The Columbus Fire Department is asking for a safety levy to be able to keep all six career staff members.

Without the money, Columbus Fire Chief Rich Cowger said they will lose four of those six staff members. He said the career staff are paramedics and there is a difference between paramedics and EMT's.

Currently, the Columbus Fire Rescue Department receives funding through a federal grant. If the safety levy does not pass, they cannot ask for another one so they will have to cut back on paid staff.

The other members of the department are all volunteers. Only some of them are medically trained.

Sue Ivankovitch is a physicians assistant at Stillwater Billings Clinic and said volunteers are a wonderful thing, but they can only do so much when it comes to an emergency.

She said paramedics often provide life-saving measures at the scene of a call and EMT's cannot always do this.

Cowger said in 2016, there were 713 calls for service, which almost doubles the 405 calls in 2010. He said losing four paramedics could make wait times longer for emergency calls.

The ballots are mail-in and will be sent out Wednesday. They are due on may 2nd.

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