|Click for edition 204|
Of Fire Departments, Vacants, and Homeless. Today's fire service participates in a variety of fire safety activities. Anything from traditional fire safety that's taught in schools to children, fire safety education for seniors and community living centers, and even how to install child safety seat in your vehicle has become part of the fire safety training initiative. So, my question is: why not get the fire service involved in special needs populations and serving the homeless? We've seen several fires that have occurred in vacant or abandoned structures where an aggressive interior attack has been carried out because “there might be homeless people” in there. Isn't it time the American fire service took an active role in assisting the underserved members of their community? Would it not make sense that by providing adequate shelter for the homeless, we would be less likely to initiate that aggressive interior attack in a vacant structure.
A number of situations have erupted out of the snowstorm that hit New York City in the East Coast last month. One of the lesser discussed topics has been that of transportation of EMS patients by a non-ambulance vehicle. There are reports of sick people being transported to a hospital fire apparatus during this snow event. These transports have seemed to have set some people on edge. We have to remember that during crisis situations (and this was a crisis situation in New York City) people will need to be transported, and indeed, will be transported by any means available. Remember, in crisis or disaster situations… it's no longer a standard of response is a sufficiency of response.
Also coming out of the snowstorm event in New York City is the demotion of the EMS chief for FDNY It's. For some reason, the EMS chief has been reassigned with the administration citing a need for change in leadership after the storm. While there are rumors and speculation of pre-existing problems with this EMS chief, the outward appearance is that he is being removed from his position because of the storm response. I've written about this frightening situation where EMS personnel are held accountable for failures of local government before. See the Mitigation Journal blog post EMS under the bus in Pittsburgh for more detail.