A controversial plan to put more firefighters on ambulance crews was halted Tuesday after the LA City Council came up with more money for the fire department. Firefighter unions protested the reassignment plan, calling it a "dangerous experiment." Conan Nolan reports from Venice for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on May 7, 2013.
After a long debate, the Los Angeles City Council voted Tuesday to allocate $1.2 million from their reserve account to fund an extra 11 rescue ambulances without the need to re-deploy 60 firefighters off trucks.
The funding plan will be in effect for just two months, until the end of the fiscal year. The decision to spend another $13 million to keep the ambulances staffed next year was put off until the new council and mayor take office.
Firefighter union reps and some members of the public argued Chief Brian Cumming's redeployment plan was risky -- that it would jeopardize firefighters' lives and needed greater review.
Cummings said 85 percent of all 911 calls are for medical emergencies. Three percent are actual fires.
He planned to turn a number of six-person trucks into five-person trucks in order to increase ambulance staffing. He said the move would have been done safely, and that some council members argued the chief should be allowed to run his department without interference from the council.
Cummings later told NBC4 he is pleased that he doesn't need to make the change, for now. The fiscal year ends June 30.