FDNY EMS Gears Up, Private Ambulances Scale Down

Our citys’ FDNY saw this coming from miles away, according to the Chief Leader article linked below:

“It was back during the Giuliani administration that the city opened the door for the private carriers. Mayor Rudy Giuliani also took the Emergency Medical Service function away from the City’s Health + Hospitals and merged it with the FDNY.”

“In the years since Mr. Giuliani opened the door to the city relying on private carriers for 911 emergency medical calls, the leadership of DC 37’s Local 2507 and Local 3621, which represent the FDNY EMS workforce, has warned the City Council that such a reliance could create a sudden gap in coverage if a private carrier in the 911 network went bankrupt.”

After private ambulance provider TransCare went bankrupt in February 2016, the de Blasio administration recently approved funding for two extra ambulances and a team of 15 extra EMT’s, as well as two EMS pilot programs to be launched in the coming months. In an article on PIX 11, TransCare will be pulling nearly 30 ambulances off the streets of Manhattan and The Bronx, leaving over 81 shifts vacant. As the private provider was responding to less and less calls, leading to a 10% decrease in a one-year span, this didn’t come as a surprise to FDNY officials.

This comes in the wake of the FDNY’s gator utility vehicles-small, nimble vehicles implemented to lower response times to medical emergencies in high-traffic areas, like Times Square. Where larger ambulances couldn’t fit, the gator utility vehicles did and had all the necessary equipment for medical emergencies. In a continued effort to innovate and improve response times, particularly in The Bronx, the FDNY will deploy “fly cars” in the area. These will be support SUV’s to lead ambulances with a paramedic on board for emergencies in The Bronx.

Links

FDNY prepared to pick up slack after private ambulance company files for bankruptcy

Private Ambulances Disappear, So 911 Calls Fall to EMS

Fire Department Finds a Way Around Times Square Traffic for Medical Emergencies

City Hall, FDNY in Talks Over Ambulances

Bill to raise age limit for Firefighters

Last week, Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley backed a bill that would to raise the maximum age for an applicant from 28 to 30, with a 5 year window. “Ms. Crowley’s bill also mandates a 35-year-old cut-off for when a successful applicant can actually join the FDNY.”, via an article posted this week on The Chief-Leader. Crowley is currently the Chair of the Committee on Fire and Criminal Justice. During a lengthy hearing on October 19th, the bill received no shortage of both praise and grave concern. Vincent Variale, President of Local 3621, FDNY EMS Lieutenants and Captains union, notes that a history of high EMS-to-Firefighter turnover rates makes it difficult for the EMS to retain its workforce. It is theorized that raising the age limit for firefighters would only exacerbate this trend.

A nuanced question of safety trickled through the discussion as well- less FDNY EMT’s on hand means less FDNY ambulances: “These shortages force the use of unreliable, for-profit, private ambulance companies instead of FDNY ambulances to provide service in the 911 system.”, Vincent Variale told The Chief-Leader in the article linked at the bottom of this page. This same article notes the fact that after the EMS and FDNY came together 21 years ago, EMS members were able to take a promotional exam to become firefighters.

Isreal Miranda, President of DC 37 Local 2507, shared Variale’s concerns. “With one year on the job and at least [a score of] 75 on the written exam a person will get the preference over a person with a 100 [score] who was on the open public competitive test.” Miranda stated. A method for gaining more firefighters was proposed, but no solutions to stave off the attrition rate for the FDNY EMS was put on the table. Although the council chair stated in the article from the Chief Leader that there was an area for compromise, it states no remedies.

All this being said, the bill wasn’t meant to be a detriment to the FDNY EMS. The age limit made with the idea that it will “…help the city achieve its goal of increasing the representation of both women and people of color in the firefighting ranks.” as quoted in an article on The Chief-Leader, linked below. Sarinya Srisakul, President of United Women Firefighters, supports raising the age maximum. Srisakul pointed out that over half of major cities don’t have an age limit, and the cities that do have an age cap of 35 yrs old. She went as far as to say that the age cap could be seen as discriminatory if no data proved it was necessary. Also present at the hearing were millennials who are currently too old to apply to be firefighters when it was something they wanted for various reasons extremely close to heart. Raising the age cap would give these individuals the opportunity to achieve a dream. “Shizam Dalbarry moved to the U.S.from Trinidad when he was nine, and now has five years on the job as an EMT. He long dreamed of becoming a Firefighter, but said he ultimately gravitated to EMS because it included a good representation of people of color.” expressed The Chief-Leader. Some of these people weren’t even in the FDNY EMS, so they don’t have the opportunity to take a promotional exam-let alone being too old to apply for the position. The bill would change that. FDNY Deputy Commissioner for Government Affairs stated that this would also give rank opportunities to people who don’t come from families or neighborhoods that have a trend of this career path.

The bill was made not to take opportunities away from the FDNY EMS, but to give opportunities to the public. However, it is feared that raising the age cap ultimately will funnel more EMS members out to the Firefighter ranks.

For sources and more information, click the article below.

Bill to Raise Age Limit For Firefighters Spurs EMS Unions’ Concerns

East Coasts first Mobile Stroke Treatment Unit calls New York home!

In an effort synchronized between the FDNY, Weill Cornell Medicine, NewYork-Presbyterian and Cornell Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital is the first and only hospital on the east coast to have a Mobile Treatment Stroke Unit.

“The New York City 911 System via the FDNY will deploy the unit into communities surrounding NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center at East 68th Street and NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center at West 168th Street when a patient is experiencing stroke symptoms.”, states an article linked below posted by NewYork-Presbyterian.

This new unit, abbreviated MSTU, and the medical professionals on it are working in tandem with FDNY EMS members, EMTs, and firefighters. Aiding in this level of immediate medical treatment for such devastating injuries is crucial to preventing long term damage and possible death. Vitals and information are sent from the unit to the hospital before the patient even arrives. On board there are crucial medications, a CT scanner that sends information from the unit to the hospital as it is recorded, and other immensely important supplies for aiding in the care of stroke patients.

MTSU started serving patients last week, beginning on October 3rd.  The method for monitoring successfully recovering patients is already planned out. Information will be gathered to compare and contrast fully recovered patients on the MTSU versus standard Emergency Medical Services. “Researchers will share information with similar units throughout the United States for a larger analysis on best treatment practices for emergency stroke care.”, as quoted from NewYork-Presbyterian.

Roughly 800,000 people a year suffer from strokes or severely damaging stroke related symptoms, such as artery blockage. New York City is proud to be part of taking one of the most recent innovative steps in immediate preventive care. Please see the article from NewYork-Presbyterian below for more information.

NewYork-Presbyterian Collaborates with the FDNY to Launch First Mobile Stroke Treatment Unit on the East Coast