EMTs in Hackensack voice opposition to cuts

Hackensack EMTs were looking to gain support Saturday against the city?s move to lay off eight of their workers.

Hackensack says it plans to replace the Emergency Medical Technicians with employees of Vanguard, a private company Hackensack University Medical Center will hire at no cost to the city.

EMTs from Hackensack and their supporters handed out flyers at a rally to inform the public of the city's plan.

"Anyone with a medical need will be jeopardized in response time and need in service," says one EMT at the rally.

City Manager Steve Loicono says he would never jeopardize public safety and believes the backlash would be more intense had he turned down an opportunity to save the city money.

Loicono also argues that the work of the EMS under Vanguard will be equivalent if not better than the city's.

The city's current EMTs differ, pointing to the years of experience they bring to the table.

"I've got guys with twenty years on the job going against a kid coming out of EMT school, it's not going to be the same," says an EMT.

The projected cost savings - $600,000 in the first year according to the city ? has swayed one Hackensack resident.

"We'll be saving money on our taxes and that's a good thing,? says Carolina Veloza.

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