More fire vs. EMS junk.

Ok, So Fairfax County, VA is losing too many Paramedics and can't keep everything staffed. There's an article here about it. The really telling part and what gets me fired up is contained in this quote from Michael Mohler, the president of the local Firefighter and Medics Union:

  'Mr. Mohler says paramedics' concerns have been ignored for a decade because the department is focused on fire suppression, even though medics respond to more calls than do firefighters.
    According to the department's Web site (www.co.fairfax.va.us/fire/general/overview.htm), firefighters responded to 21,740 fires in the past fiscal year, and emergency medical services personnel responded to 60,306 medical emergencies.
    "If you look at the upper management, the emphasis on our system has always been on the fire side. It's that mind-set that we have that's responsible for this neglect," Mr. Mohler said.'

Yet again, the FD is taking money, and attention from EMS. This is not so much a problem unless you consider that EMS provides life saving services primarily and FD provides property saving services, primarily. Sure, sure, they do rescue and recover of people and that's where I think FDs should be moving. That, in my opinion, is a more urgent need than breaking windows and throwing ladders.

Now, don't get me wrong. There is a definite need for fire suppression. There are still fires that, if left unchecked, would devastate huge areas and destroy people's lives. There's no doubt that fire continues to be a very real hazard. My point is that it is considerably less and better managed that in was 50 years ago. Yet we continue to fund FDs as if the threat was just a great. It's as if there is still this fanatical emphasis on fighting fires and all the world will end if we don't stop funding those brave men and women who brave the flames of hell to save our homes.

Why can't we see the same emphasis on the men and women who brave disease, infection, physical harm, emotional trauma and more to save our bodies and lives. Often they reverse the seemingly inevitable onset of death, they protect people from the consequences of their own stupidity and bad choices and they save people from the consequences of OTHER people's bad decisions.

Why are medics and EMTs so marginalized by the public? Is it because people don't want to think of the icky stuff of EMS? Is it our society's aversion to death? Is it because things don't blow up when we do our job? It's not as "Hollywood" as fire?

I want to know what you think. Why is EMS seen as so much less heroic than fire? Go for it. Slam my comments link!


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