Breaking News
More () »

Report: Columbus in need of more firefighters, medics

The department has only added 37 positions since 2000, even though the population of Columbus has jumped more than 200,000.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — 10TV has received an exclusive copy of a 212-page report on the Columbus Division of Fire outlining the strengths and weaknesses of the department.

The biggest concern from the report is staffing levels. In 2000, the population of Columbus was 711,470. At the time, the department had 1,511 members. In 2022, the population is 918,429 with 1,548 firefighters.

The department has only added 37 positions, even though the population of Columbus has jumped more than 200,000.

10TV has reported since September 2021, as the population has grown, the number of Columbus firefighters has remained about the same. The bigger issue is that more firefighters are retiring than the division can hire.

According to the report, "the current system produces approximately 80 new recruits a year, but the division has approximately 100 retirements during the same period."

“Right now we have severe limitations on the number we can get through the academy. In order to meet those greater projections of what those needs are and what makes sense, and how to do that, how to phase that in, a lot of that is going to have to come back to the division of fire coming up with creative ways to make sure we are bringing on the best people, but also bringing on as many people as possible,” said Steve Stein, the president of the Columbus Firefighters Union IAFF Local 67.

The report also stated there aren't enough medic units, saying "these units being utilized so heavily they likely cannot meet the 90% travel time performance objective." It suggests an additional five medic units across the city.

“One area that is a big priority that we are all in agreement on is to really look at our EMS delivery in the City of Columbus. When you look at the EMTs and paramedics and the sheer fatigue they have been exposed to, even prior to covid,” Stein said.

Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther said in a statement to 10TV, "The Matrix study commissioned for the Columbus Division of Fire provides important recommendations, and serves as the starting point for conversation around the change, efficiencies and investment required to continue to sustain high-quality Fire and EMS, now and in the future. We have the best Division of Fire in the country, and the study will help us get better."

“Recommendations are one thing, now we really need to look at how can we realistically implement a lot of what is in this report,” Stein said.

The Columbus Public Safety Director said in a statement this report will help determine the next steps for the division.

The Matrix group also did a study for Columbus Division of Police in 2019.

Local News: Recent Coverage ⬇️

Before You Leave, Check This Out