By Jonathan Frank, Local 790
|Almost four years and the EMS OP is still unraveling. The prospect
of privatization of transport is only one step away, and is held
off, mostly by the reality that it may soon not be lucrative;
the companies may not be interested! That revolting development
would lead to yet another. The City (presumably SFFD) ambulances
handling the areas dominated by the poor and indigent, like downtown
and the Mission and the privates (yes its a dirty word) carving
up the neighborhoods that have insurance.
OK, so the folks running EMS didnt know what they were doing. Shouldnt they have started getting things onto an even keel by now, after almost four years?
I mean lets turn the thing around. What if by some strange twist of fate I was to be put in charge of a large fire suppression operation all of a sudden? How would I proceed? How would the place look after three and a half years?
One of the fundamental differences between fire suppression and EMS work is revealed in the various possible scenarios this elicits. This merger commenced with massive reinvention of a trade that had evolved since the Civil War! The operation has been dismantled, dissected, destabilized and, continues to be disabled on a daily basis! But the effects are not immediately obvious to the casual observer (though manys the citizen who has asked, how come there are sirens almost continuously?). No, as long as those in high places are committed to maintaining course and, we dont leave bodies on the pavement for Sunset Scavenger, few feel or see the effects of the debacle.
If one were to proceed to reinvent fire suppression in a manner similar to the way the FD has operated the EMS, the whole City would soon be in ashes!
So what would I do if I woke up as CD-One tomorrow morning? Yeah Id defecate-a-brick, but would I proclaim that the whole operation was henceforth going to operate as an EMS? Would I put all the apparatus on street corners and attempt to dynamically deploy them? Would I proclaim that responding to alarms was as important as knowing how to handle them, and therefore reorganize the department into crews of two (suppression ambulances) in order to get to fires sooner? Would I make certain that any firefighter that didnt crosstrain as a medic could kiss promotion, further training and retirement goodbye? Would I put a paramedic who had no fire service experience at the head of my team?
If I did, my own house would soon be burning.