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SOUTH EUCLID -- Dan Dress has been a firefighter in South Euclid for 21 years.

"Helping people, in their worst hour, and making a difference," he says. "I can't think of a better job."

However, Dress, who is the South EuclidFirefighters' Union president,says proposed layoffs to the city's fire department should be cause for alarm.

"It's going to be impossible for us to provide anywhere near the same level of service that our residents are accustomed to right now," he says.

South Euclid officials say layoffs are being considered because of state and county funding cuts.

Additionally, they say layoffs are an "option of last resort," and that a request has been made to open talks about other options, including what's taking place in neighboring cities.

For instance, two communities are looking at joining forces.

"We are considering consolidating our fire services in University Heights with the fire services in Shaker Heights," says University Heights Mayor Susan Infeld.

The proposal would combine two smaller fire departments into one.

"We believe that it will deliver more people, more fire personnel, and more fire apparatus to the scene of any emergency call as first responders than we can currently offer," Mayor Infeld says.

Although Unviersity Heights unions have raised concerns, Mayor Infeld says layoffs are not part of the equation.

"We believe we're being proactive in looking at a way to continue delivering a high quality fire service to the residents of the communities," she says.

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