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Concerns Grow After FDNY EMS Asst. Chief Cuts Defibrillator Maintenance

Facing a shortage of defibrillators for some of its ambulances, the FDNY has canceled regular maintenance on the life-saving machines, the Daily News has learned. The LifePak 12, a $25,000 defibrillator and cardiac monitor installed in all the department's Advanced Life Support ambulances, used to receive a tuneup every six months, according to FDNY sources.

But on Nov. 18, Assistant Chief of EMS John McFarland abruptly canceled the maintenance program and, in an e-mail obtained by The News, ordered ALS coordinators to "keep all expired LP12s in service." Though the FDNY yesterday strenuously denied that the change would affect the performance of the ambulances, several EMS sources and unions expressed worry that the cutback could endanger lives.

"Our concern is that as we try to 'stretch' the lifespan of these devices and get further and further from the time when they are supposed to be overhauled, we may have a critical failure," said Patrick Bahnken, president of the Uniformed EMTs, Paramedics and Fire Inspectors union.

Read More, City's defibrillator shocker: EMS honcho John McFarland says cancel tuneups, use expired monitors

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