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ACFR Rescue Unit 24 to be Taken Out of Service

Press release from Alachua County

Like other public safety agencies in the State of Florida, Alachua County Fire Rescue has struggled to maintain an adequate workforce to meet the needs of a service delivery demand that continues to grow. The department has continually advertised its vacancies but has been unsuccessful in filling them. Therefore, the department has had to rely upon overtime and mandatory overtime to keep units in service. Mandatory overtime is when an employee is not scheduled to work but is required to do so. 

Regarding mandatory overtime, Alachua County Fire Chief Harold Theus stated, “We have worked hard to reduce and eliminate mandatory assignments when we can. These last few months, it has reached an unreasonable point. Mandatory assignments are not good for the employee, the department, or the citizens we serve. We have implemented several changes to accommodate for our reduced workforce, but at this point, I have no other option other than taking a rescue unit out of service.” 

Some of the efforts to keep units in service and available include:

  • Streamlined hiring process
  • Suspension of all out-of-county transfers
  • Alternative special event staffing
  • Administrative staff working on Rescue Units
  • Placing Basic Life Support (BLS) units in the Peak Load Division
  • Encouraging employees to work overtime in the Rescue classification

Effective June 1, 2022, Rescue 24 at Station 24, located at 3509 NW 143 Street, will be out of service unless it can be filled with available staffing or voluntary overtime. This unit was selected for several reasons. First, Station 24 has an Advanced Life Support (ALS) Fire Engine for immediate first response medical care. Additionally, this rescue unit has a lower call volume than many of the other 14 Rescue units and has Rescue units located to the north, south, east, and west. 

  • This makes me sad and angry. So much taxpayer money is wasted on so much trivial, political garbage.
    Having EMTs ready and able to respond is exactly what we pay taxes for! ESSENTIAL SERVICES!!!
    This station is the one that responded to a cycling crash that I was on, which could easily have been fatal to my friend, who suffered a cervical fracture, 3 years ago.
    Even back then, it seemed like forever before the fire engine (there was no fire,) and ambulance arrived…
    Paramedics, EMTs and ambulances are what is needed most all of the time when people call 911 for medical and crash emergencies. Instead, we get a fire engine, and then, much later… an ambulance…
    Why not keep the stations open, but spend taxpayer money to hire more EMTs and paramedics, and maybe buy another ambulance or two, rather than building more stupid Taj Mahal fire stations, (like this one,) and not buying fancy latest bells and whistles fire engines?
    EMTs and ambulances are what we really NEED.

    • Kathy the problem is the pay no one wants to work as a EMT or Paramedic anymore not sure what Alaucha pays but the private company I work for starts EMTS at 11.00 an hour paramedic at 14.00 an hour

    • Did you read where the Chief says that station has an Advanced Life Support Engine…meaning paramedics are on board and could medically help your friend until a rescue could transport them?

    • What’s needed are people who want to work for the county. Bonuses and other benefits are offered and not many takers. Not to mention the hours aren’t bad, 24 on & 48 off. Better than some people serving in the military have.

      Wonder how many choose to be trained and gain experience here before realizing the politics and personal views aren’t conducive to one another?

      Wonder if we can get our special assessments refunded?

  • I suspect people not really wanting to live in Alachua “Woke-Broke” County has something to do with the difficulties in finding people. People are willing to work for less in order to live someplace cool, like Gainesville used to be. Now we have high electric bills, high taxes, and ghastly vagrants everywhere. Lots of crime, too. You might get shot or at least get your shoes stolen as a Paramedic going into Cedar Ridge and similar neighborhoods. And let’s not forget the crappy roads here. Who wants to drive around on bumpy roads all day for $14 an hour. The chickens have come home to roost, guys. Not being able to find emergency personnel to work here is like the local version of not being able to buy baby formula nationwide. Leadership matters. Common sense matters.

  • Also, I remember hearing that EMS is dispatched to Grace Marketplace on a daily basis, often multiple times daily. That can’t help as far as retaining employees. The county needs to pay the EMS employees a lot more, obviously. Wawa starts employees at $15/hour.

  • Next will be a fire assesment increase due to a decrease in services, responce times and safety. The fire assesment that used to be a property tax seperated out so Alachua County does not exceed milage rates. And they sit thier and scratch numskulls about why the 1 cent taxes will not get approved . Ignorance should no be an excuse,

  • So, this state-of-the-art fire station, recently built, will be vacant – horrible use of funds. The incompetence is amazing. I think they are going to build a new station off 24th ave by Haile Plantation. So close one and build another? eye roll.

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