Aug. 08—Albuquerque city councilors on Monday unanimously voted to appropriate $379,000 to the Fire Rescue Department for specialty pay increases for the city's paramedic firefighters.

The funding, which comes from general fund reserves in the fiscal 2019 budget, covers an 8 percent pay differential between regular firefighters and paramedics negotiated between the city and the International Association of Firefighters, Local 244, in the recent collective bargaining agreement.

"We designated some money for paramedic training that was already taken care of and it was handled in another area, so (this resolution) will move money around to make wages for paramedics more in line with other union members," said City Councilor Trudy Jones, who sponsored the bill along with Council President Ken Sanchez.

Albuquerque Fire Rescue staffing levels include 471 basic emergency medical technicians and 202 paramedics.

EMTs usually complete a course that is about 120-150 hours in length, but paramedic training takes considerably longer—more than 1,600 hours of instruction, the equivalent of 41 college credit hours.

Paramedics provide advanced levels of emergency medical care and receive special training in anatomy and physiology, cardiology, medications and medical trauma-related procedures.