New agreement brings more life support training to Topeka Fire Dept.

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- The city of Topeka and the International Association of Fire Fighters Local Union No. 83 have a new contract in place and council members ratified the deal Tuesday.

The labor agreement raises pay slightly for entry-level and all other classifications throughout the department.

Topeka Fire Chief Craig Duke said this ratification is about more than money, it helps with the big picture of the department.

"The big picture is always to improve your service," Duke said.

The agreement allows the department to have Advanced Life Support trained firefighters on staff.

"We do have all the fire fighters trained to EMT level which is a basic life support,” Duke said. “Now this gives us the opportunity to give a higher degree of service to the citizens of Topeka in their time of need."

Fire fighters will have the option to be certified in ALS.

Duke said more than 80 percent of the calls the department receives are for emergency medical services.

If the responding fire fighters are able to perform ALS, he says it can help save lives.

"The majority of the time, the fire fighters are on the scene first,” Duke said. “That would give those who have paramedic certifications the ability, if they sign up to do this, and we have the equipment then, to then deliver advanced life support until a transporting unit arrives on the scene."

The department hopes to have at least two ALS companies in service by January of 2020.