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Paramedics’ Union: FDNY EMS Chief Failed During Sandy

FDNY Patches (file / credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

FDNY Patches (file/credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

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Superstorm Sandy

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The New York City paramedics’ union has issued a vote of no confidence in the FDNY Emergency Medical Services Chief, and has demanded that he resign over his performance during Superstorm Sandy.

As 1010 WINS Gary Baumgarten reported, union members claimed they were forgotten by EMS Chief Abdo Nahmod, who kept them in harm’s way in stations that flooded and should have been evacuated.

In documents obtained by 1010 WINS, the Uniformed EMS Unions Locals 3627 and 2507 accused Nahmod of “jeopardizing the safety of the public and EMTs, paramedics, lieutenants and captains by not preparing for evacuation of personnel and equipment from known flood zones in anticipation of Hurricane Sandy.”

1010 WINS’ Gary Baumgarten reports

Nahmod also failed to evacuate flooded stations, allowed EMS units to remain on the street in unsheltered areas during the storm, and failed to call in off-duty units for help, the union alleged.

The New York Post report that fire stations in flood zones were not ordered to evacuate when they were already flooded, even though the FDNY requires crews to begin preparing for such events three days ahead of time.

In the Rockaways, for example, paramedics stood on the roof of an ambulance as the water level rose, and one ended up being knocked off and had to swim to safety, the Post reported. The ambulances were left underwater, and firefighters had to make rescues in pickup trucks, the Post reported.

In the union documents, Nahmod was also accused of enacting department policies that limit the ability of paramedics to respond to emergencies, ignoring federal standards and other directives, and cutting important supervisory positions.

The union called for Nahmod’s immediate resignation.

Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano issued a statement defending Nahmod in response to the no confidence vote.

“I ordered all FDNY members – EMTs, Paramedics and Firefighters – to stay in service and in quarters during the storm for as long as possible. Our members, along with the Police Department, were the last line of defense for the people in the communities we serve,” Cassano said in the statement. “I have the utmost confidence in Chief Abdo Nahmod and his performance before, during and after Hurricane Sandy.”

Do you think Nahmod should resign? Leave your comments below…