Guam – Guam Fire Captain Rueben Olivas is disputing any suggestion that MEDIC pay for Guam Fire Fighters has been excessive during the ongoing ambulance shortage.
Olivas is a Captain at the Umatac Fire Station. he is a 25 year veteran of the force and an outspoken defender of the Guam Fire Department. He spoke to us as a fire-fighter saying he was not representing the Fire Department’s view.
Olivas disputes the suggestion made by Public Safety Committee Chair Senator Adolpho Palacios that records of MEDIC pay PNC showed the Senator were excessive.
Those records show that at a time when, on average, there have been only 4 working ambulances in service on island, more than 70 firefighters in each of the last 3 pay periods, received MEDIC pay costing taxpayers roughly $15-thousand dollars every 2 weeks.
Captain Olivas says that 70 is less than half the staffing level needed to man the 4 ambulances and the 2 Advanced Life Support units. By his calculation, it takes 2 firemen per shift to man an ambulance, and 2 times 14 shifts in a pay period equals 28 shifts.
Multiply 28 by 4 ambulances and that equals 112. Factor in the 2 ALS units that need to be staffed and that bumps the manpower needs up to 196.
196 firemen, on a force that numbers roughly 260, just to staff 4 ambulances and 2 ALS vehicles.
That would mean that every fireman could be eligible for MEDIC pay, and there still wouldn’t be enough to cover all the shifts IF all 14 ambulances were working.
Captain Olivas acknowledges that, but maintains that there are not enough fire fighters. He estimates that the Department is short by more than 200 personnel.