'Failed policies put responders at risk' during Sandy
EMS, EMTs are demanding policy changes, citing poor administrative planning
NEW YORK — Prior to a City Council Oversight Hearing examining the city’s disaster management plan before, during, and after Hurricane Sandy, EMS members, led by Uniformed EMTs, Paramedics and Fire Inspectors Local 2507 President Israel Miranda and Uniformed EMS Officers Union Local 3621 President Vincent Variale, joined Councilmember Elizabeth S. Crowley, chair of the Fire and Criminal Justice Services Committee, to illustrate failed policies and planning that put responders at increased risk during the storm. Poor administrative planning and an unmanageable span of control made it difficult for EMS personnel to operate during Hurricane Sandy, and a lack of a clear chain of command led to conflicting orders and mismanagement.
“Even on a normal day EMS members face numerous challenges because the city ignores Department of Homeland Security guidelines that call for a span of control of one supervisor to five members. Yet even after an independent arbitrator ruled the FDNY is violating these guidelines, EMS supervisors oversee an unmanageable 20 or more members,” said Crowley. “Our medics performed admirably during Sandy in spite of this failed administrative policy that led to poor communication and decisions that unnecessarily placed our responders in harm’s way and prevented some of them from doing their jobs during Hurricane Sandy.”
“We are saddened by any lives that were lost during the storm,” said Variale. “If not for the commitment and dedication of the front-line members of the EMS Command, many more lives may have been lost.”