Firefighter Fired After Food Run Delays Response - @ JEMS.com


Firefighter Fired After Food Run Delays Response


 
 

Tony Plohetski | | Thursday, May 29, 2008


AUSTIN, Texas -- Before jumping onto an Austin firetruck and rushing to a woman in respiratory distress earlier this year, officials say, firefighter Michael Pooler decided to make a quick stop.

He went to the Burger House next door.

The food run delayed the Austin Fire Department's response to the call by two minutes and led acting Fire Chief Jim Evans to fire Pooler.

Evans said in a disciplinary memo released Tuesday that Pooler demonstrated "a shocking neglect of duty" in the Jan. 4 incident.

"Immediate response to 911 calls is the very essence of what it means to be an Austin firefighter. " Because of his selfish and highly unprofessional actions, he has no right to remain an Austin firefighter," the memo said.

Fire Department spokeswoman Michelle DeCrane said paramedics from Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services reached the patient before firefighters and canceled the firefighter response.

The patient's condition is not known.

DeCrane said the 911 call originated from an Austin Regional Clinic near Far West Boulevard and MoPac Boulevard (Loop 1). In an audio recording of the call, a clinic employee told a dispatcher that the patient was a 77-year-old woman who was having difficulty talking and breathing at the same time.

Pooler, a 12-year veteran of the Fire Department, declined through a union representative to comment on the firing, which happened after a hearing Friday. He does not have an attorney, said Palmer Buck, secretary for the Austin Association of Professional Firefighters.

Buck said Pooler plans to appeal the firing.

According to the three-page memo, Pooler was at Station 21 on Spicewood Springs Road, near Mesa Drive in Northwest Austin, when its crew was dispatched to the call.

Pooler, who was the on-duty supervisor, walked away from the fire station to place an order at the adjacent restaurant, the memo said.

DeCrane said other firefighters did not depart without Pooler, probably because department policy requires four firefighters on most engines and because Pooler was the crew leader.

Evans said in the memo that for a person in respiratory distress, two minutes can mean the difference between life and death, or could lead to permanent brain injury.

He also said that Pooler's actions "erode and violate the public's trust in the Austin Fire Department."

tplohetski@statesman.com; 445-3605


Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: Leadership and Professionalism, Communications and Dispatch, Legal and Ethical, Operations and Protcols

What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Buyer's Guide Featured Companies

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS

Get JEMS in Your Inbox

 

Fire EMS Blogs


Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

 

EMS Airway Clinic

Improving Survival from Cardiac Arrest Using ACD-CPR + ITD

Using active compression-decompression CPR with an ITD has been shown to improve 1-year survival from cardiac arrest by 33%.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Philadelphia Fire Department Apologizes for Medic’s Jab at Police

Union head calls photos a slap in the face of officers.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

D.C. Fire and EMS Crews Blame New Technology for Patient’s Death

Delayed response blamed on recurring dispatch problems.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Suspect Steals, Crashes Maryland Ambulance

One killed, others injured in Prince George’s County crash.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Truck Strikes Pedestrians in Scotland

Six killed in downtown Glasgow.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Tennessee Trench Rescue

Worker pulled from Roane County worksite.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Time’s Ebola Firefighters

Doctors, nurses and others saluted for fighting virus.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Field Bridge Xpress ePCR on iPad, Android, Kindle Fire

Sneak peek of customizable run forms & more.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

VividTrac offered by Vivid Medical - EMS Today 2013

VividTrac, affordable high performance video intubation device.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Braun Ambulances' EZ Door Forward

Helps to create a safer ambulance module.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

The AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher Conversion Kit - EMS Today 2013

AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher all-hazards preparedness & response tool
Watch It >


More Product Videos >