PHILADELPHIA — A scathing report released yesterday rebuked the Philadelphia Fire Department’s culture, which it said caused paramedics to quickly hit a career ceiling and feel unappreciated and firefighters to undervalue calls for medical emergencies compared with fire calls.
A fire department run EMS system where the medics are treated like second class citizens? I’m shocked, shocked, I say. How can this be?
“We’re wasting a half-million-dollar truck and four guys because of a bellyache,” said Bill Gault, president of Local 22 of the firefighters union. “In a perfect world, every firefighter would be a paramedic, and that would alleviate everything.”
More clueless comments from a fire union official. In fact, systems where “every fire fighter is a paramedic” have significant problems with quality assurance and skill retention. The probable truth is more ambulances are needed, whether they are staffed by paramedics, EMTs, or some combination. Also, it sounds like some sort of phone triage system to prioritize responses is needed. What’s probably not needed, except to keep fire fighters busy, is fire apparatus first response for most calls.
You can view the entire report here.
Most of the recommendations are standard consultant fare. Somehow I don’t think that much will come of this. As I said, like Captain Renault, I’m shocked, shocked I say.