Where are our leaders?

A popular special education teacher died from injuries sustained following a hit and run accident in Providence last week. It took eighteen minutes for a mutual aid ambulance to arrive on scene. The local news station investigative team did a follow-up report.

Somehow the message at the end of the report left viewers questioning whether the current labor dispute between The City of Providence and Providence Firefighters Local 799 is in part part of the problem.


Let me be clear, in case my squawking about this situation for the last ten years wasn’t clear enough; The City of Providence has understaffed their EMS division since EMS became part of the fire department. Blame the union, blame the Commissioner, blame whoever you want, the bottom line is this: people die because EMS is over used, abused by the public, treated like an inconvenience by the Fire Department administration, misunderstood by the media, understaffed, underfunded and a meat grinder for the people who dedicate their fire department career to the EMS division.

The people in the trenches show up for work, respond to the calls and wonder where their leaders are. They wonder how this debacle is allowed to continue. They shake their heads, and respond to calls, and bring people to the ER for sniffles while others die in the street.

There are no true leaders in EMS, just a bunch of fools running around in circles.




1 Comment

  • John Stell says:

    Unfortunately, this is not isolated. The lack of leadership goes all the way up to local, state, and even federal government. I love EMS; it’s where I first started. But there are major issues, rules, and regulations that must be addressed. I agree wholeheartedly with your post. I took a venture into air medical over this past year, and I must say I do enjoy the WORK itself. However, safety concerns (both crew and patient), as well as abuse/misuse of air medical (flying nosebleeds?), are beyond ridiculous. The same is true of ground EMS. There needs to be better regulation and stiff penalties for those misusing emergency services, be it ground or air. I also agree that nationwide, fire departments are not helping the situation in EMS. I have heard this problem in multiple departments, and it is aggravating to say the least. Using EMS as a work-horse to achieve goals in the fire service is doing a great disservice to our communities. EMS is, and should be, a medical profession in its own right, there to preserve public health and well-being. I’m not throwing firefighters under the bus here; I have several that are good friends, but the problem starts at the top. I wonder if other industrialized countries have any of these same problems??? I have a theory that these are not the same issues that plague other Western countries…but I could be wrong.

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