Excerpts from the ChicagoTribune.com:

Aurora Fire Department officials said they are looking to hire more paramedics as quickly as possible.

To do that, fire Chief Gary Krienitz said he wants the city to change the language in its ordinance regarding the qualifications of safety personnel. He would like it to read that anyone looking to take the test required to be on the hiring list for the fire department already have paramedic training. Aurora needs more firefighters with paramedic training for current staffing needs, and a new ambulance that will be added.

The current hiring list has about 50 to 60 people on it, about 70 percent of which do have paramedic training. But the list expires in November, at which time the city needs to develop a new list.

Krienitz said the city is using a new testing service, which means the pool to choose from should be dramatically increased. He estimated that after the new testing, Aurora would have about 200 people on the list and he wants people who already have paramedic training to be able to get on that new list.

Hiring people who already have paramedic training saves the city time and money. As it is, hiring a new firefighter-paramedic is a two-year process and more time is lost if the city hires someone, then immediately takes that person out of service to take paramedic training. That training also costs the city about $40,000 a person.