Chicago Fire Department paramedics have been told to turn in their “bunker gear” – the heavy, protective pants, suspenders, coat and helmet â€” because the department says they don’t need it. The union begs to differ. | File photo
Â 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 â€œbunker gear,â€ that are standard issue for firefighters.
Now, the Fire Department is collecting bunker gear from all paramedics.
â€œLocal 2 believe the removal of the bunker gear from our paramedics is not in the best interest of our membership,â€ Tom Ryan, president of the Chicago Firefighters Union Local 2 wrote in a text message to the Chicago Sun-Times.
â€œChicagoâ€™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.â€
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.
â€œItems to be returned are: (1) bunker coat, (1) bunker pants, (1) bunker suspenders. In addition, paramedic field chiefs shall return their â€¦ face pieces,â€ Nielsen said. CONTINUED TO FULL ARTICLE HERE