IAFF, Fort Worth, TX Local 440 support plan for fire-based EMS model 

Fort Worth City Council approved a new model that will dissolve MedStar, with its other member cities forming service agreements with Fort Worth.

June 13 • 2024

The Fort Worth City Council unanimously approved a plan to transfer MedStar EMS transport services to the Fort Worth Fire Department. This move, championed by Fort Worth, TX Local 440, will consolidate emergency services under the Fort Worth Fire Department’s umbrella, significantly benefiting EMS personnel. 

The City Council’s Ad Hoc Committee on Emergency Medical Response endorsed transitioning away from MedStar, the current EMS provider, in favor of the fire-based EMS model. Thirteen nearby cities will also make the switch from MedStar. 

“A fire-based system will allow the Fort Worth Fire Department to utilize sworn civil service personnel as the providers of the EMS transport system. This will increase the wages, benefits, and working conditions for the new single-role EMS providers and dispatchers transitioning from the existing EMS transport provider to the Fort Worth Fire Department,” Local 440 President Michael Glynn said. 

Local 440 comprises over 1,000 dual-role fire fighters, with nearly 200 of them trained as paramedics. As part of the transition, it’s anticipated roughly 300 EMTs and paramedics will join Local 440. 

We are proud of our involvement in this process and the final decision the City of Fort Worth has settled on. 

Michael glynn, local 440 president

The IAFF helped create an EMS integration plan along with a GIS study on the number of ambulances and personnel needed to adequately serve the Fort Worth area, a cost estimate, and potential revenue reimbursement based on the current Medicare rates, and the optimum placement of ambulances throughout the region based on historical computer-aided dispatch data. 

“Fire fighters and emergency medical workers are experts on public safety, and when we are at the table, our voice is always used to make the communities we serve safer,” said General President Edward Kelly. “This decision is right for the City of Fort Worth, ensures high-quality care for the community, and improves the pay and benefits of emergency medical workers.” 

MedStar, currently operating under the Metropolitan Area Emergency Medical Services Authority, has faced financial difficulties. The union-backed integration into the fire department is seen as a solution to these financial challenges, promising better resource management and service delivery. 

Glynn praised the union’s proactive role in the decision-making process. 

“Once it began to look like the city was going to take on the responsibility for the EMS transport system, Local 440 began working with city staff and our elected officials to seek their approval of a system design that would be the best for the citizens we serve and our membership as a whole,” he said. “We are proud of our involvement in this process and the final decision the City of Fort Worth has settled on.” 

The new system is projected to cost around $10 million for the switch, according to the Fort Worth Report. The City of Fort Worth says the EMS transition from MedStar is expected to take 12-18 months to complete. 

Visit the link here to view an interactive map of the current fire stations within the EMS response boundary.  

Visit the link here to view an interactive map of fire stations in the MedStar-covered area used to create EMS response zones. Based on IAFF GIS analysis, placing the appropriate number of ambulances within each EMS response zone (based on demand) would help reduce response times, optimize resource deployment, and provide optimal service to the community.