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Home > Topics > CPR

24 EMS workers fired for skipping CPR training

The Calif. ambulance co. employees admitted to receiving their cards without taking the four-hour course

By Tracy Seipel
San Jose Mercury News

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Following an investigation, two dozen Santa Clara County Rural/Metro ambulance company employees were fired Wednesday for reportedly obtaining CPR recertification cards without undergoing the mandatory four-hour training program.

Company spokesman John Karolzak confirmed that 24 workers were let go for breaching company policy and procedures. He said each of the workers admitted receiving their cards but not taking the course.

"I cannot recall a time where we had issues with people renewing a four-hour certification course," said Karolzak, who said he has been with the company for 29 years.

"This is about community trust, and we want to maintain the trust of the people we serve," he said. "Why not just do the four-hour training?"

Jimmy Gambone, president of the United EMS Workers AFSCME union that represents the ambulance workers, issued a statement Wednesday night saying it has attempted to cooperate with the company in the investigation since it began, "and we are very surprised and disappointed in the harsh and premature actions Rural/Metro Management has chosen to undertake at this time," Gambone said.

He added that the union intends to pursue "any and all such unjust disciplines to the fullest extent allowable under our contract, as well as under any state and federal law should the company continue to refuse to act in good-faith."

Karolzak said Rural/Metro was notified Jan. 30 by the California Emergency Medical Services Authority that it was investigating a local CPR instructor who had trained some of its ambulance workers, as well as other ambulance workers and firefighters throughout Santa Clara County.

After a review of internal records, Rural/Metro said it determined that some of its employees had falsely obtained CPR recertification cards from the instructor under investigation. Rural/Metro then mandated that all employees who had done so complete an in-person CPR course provided by Rural/Metro.

Karolzak said he did not know how many total Rural/Metro employees were involved in the investigation, but that the 24 individuals who were let go also had a history of disciplinary actions at Rural/Metro.

"They had already had issues before related to their performance," Karolzak said.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service
Rural/Metro employees, he said, must obtain CPR recertification every two years either from Rural/Metro or an authorized trainer.

The comments below are member-generated and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of or its staff. If you cannot see comments, try disabling privacy and ad blocking plugins in your browser. All comments must comply with our Member Commenting Policy.
Raymond Murray Raymond Murray Thursday, February 20, 2014 4:41:27 PM If they had the Spanish film and the beegees music it would have been worth going to a class
Steven Murphy Steven Murphy Thursday, February 20, 2014 5:05:36 PM OK, I am about as Pro union as one can be but if you are a union member, you should still follow any and all company policies, particularly if it is in your contract. If you willingly cheat and get caught, you deserve to get fired. I was a steward years ago. If you did this in my shop, I wouldn't feel sorry for you one bit and would expect you to be terminated. This was plain outright fraud. You expect your employer to abide by all of the rules and contract. You are expected to do the same. Your union is there to protect you from unfair labor practices. not protect you from skating by, committing fraud, and cheating. Not to mention, most credentialing agencies require this training for certification or licensure. These firing were deserved and justified.
Dan Boyce Dan Boyce Thursday, February 20, 2014 5:35:50 PM I'm right there with you Steven Murphy.
Michael Charles Michael Charles Thursday, February 20, 2014 9:40:06 PM I totally agree with what Steve Murphy has said here. I think those guilty should have their licenses revoked and be banned from working in medicine. They made a choice. I have no sympathy for them. Strong enough? But allow me to add, with at least 24 participants in this fraud, if anyone thinks that ambulance co. management knew nothing about this the entire time is was going on that's delusional. It has been my observation that ambulance administrative and operations folks have distain for anything in training that cost money or takes time away from their agenda even CPR recert. They tend to know about this kind of thing or chose not to know. This fraud was discovered as result of an investigation conducted by the California Emergency Medical Services Authority, not by ambulance company management. They express shock and dismay and ethical indignation when they are compelled by an outside regulatory agency to confront the fraud. Knew or should have known? You bet. And this isn't some rare incident isolated to this ambulance service company or this state. It's well represented in the EMS culture across all models. It's all smiles and winks and thank you partner as long as everyone makes their money. Then they get caught, and it's all "shocking" and "unheard of." You've heard it before. The "I did it to put food on my family's table" rationale for amoral behavior. Ok partner. Now you can put food on your family's table with your state unemployment benefit check.
John Murphy Jr John Murphy Jr Thursday, February 20, 2014 9:47:23 PM Typical Rural/Metro.
Paul Russell Sr Paul Russell Sr Friday, February 21, 2014 5:37:00 PM That is what happening with people that do not want to follow rules. Union or nonunion rules are put in place to follow.

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