Chicago Fire Department Paramedics Told To Turn In Their Bunker Gear

Chicago Fire Department paramedics have been told to turn in their "bunker gear" - the heavy, protective pants, suspenders, coat and helmet — because the department says they don't need it. The union begs to differ. | File photo

Chicago Fire Department paramedics have been told to turn in their “bunker gear” – the heavy, protective pants, suspenders, coat and helmet — because the department says they don’t need it. The union begs to differ. | File photo

 Article from Chicagosuntimes.com Fran Spielman:

The Chicago Fire Department is making another round of changes that, a union leader warned Monday, could put the lives of paramedics and the general public in danger.

Two years ago, self-contained breathing apparatus were removed from all 75 Chicago ambulances. In addition, 70 paramedics graduating from the fire academy were not issued fire helmets, boots and protective clothing, known as “bunker gear,” that are standard issue for firefighters.

Now, the Fire Department is collecting bunker gear from all paramedics.

“Local 2 believe the removal of the bunker gear from our paramedics is not in the best interest of our membership,” Tom Ryan, president of the Chicago Firefighters Union Local 2 wrote in a text message to the Chicago Sun-Times.

“Chicago’s paramedics face extremely dangerous situations every day on every shift. These dangers are often unforeseen and unpredictable. With Chicago not only being a national but an international destination, we must be prepared to respond to any and all emergencies.”

The decision to strip paramedics of equipment bought just for them was announced in a May 4 memo signed by Assistant Deputy Fire Commissioner Mark Nielsen, who runs the Bureau of Operations.

The memo outlines a schedule of pick-up locations and dates starting May 15 and ending June 5.

“Items to be returned are: (1) bunker coat, (1) bunker pants, (1) bunker suspenders. In addition, paramedic field chiefs shall return their … face pieces,” Nielsen said. CONTINUED TO FULL ARTICLE HERE

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One comment

  1. This is a poor decision. The ability to add people to a large incident or mass casualty is crucial. Even if the medics are just tending a hose on a corner in the front doorway. Use your people properly by putting them in the right places frees up others to attack and search. And you have a medic at the front door for safety and the start of care if something goes bad. just saying.

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