Chicago Paramedics, Firefighters Ordered to Sensitivity Training Following Racist Radio Transmissions


 
 

Fran Spielman | | Tuesday, November 6, 2007


CHICAGO-- Three years after racist transmissions over fire radio reopened decades-old wounds in the Chicago Fire Department, the city's 5,000 firefighters and paramedics will be required to undergo three hours of sensitivity training.

The $400,000 contract with Bonner Group LLC calls for rank-and-file employees to be removed from service in groups of 25 for on-the-job sessions that mirror the in-service training they do to keep pace with the latest firefighting techniques.

Fire Department brass have already gone through sensitivity training that includes role-playing and education about the customs of various ethnic and racial groups. The new initiative marks the first time that Fire Commissioner Ray Orozco has extended the mandate to the rank and file.

"The commissioner has been wanting to do this for some time. It's part of his mission. When you put the uniform on, you have to represent the city and the Fire Department without bias," said Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford.

He noted that there have been no major incidents of racial intolerance in the Fire Department since the fire radio transmissions of 2004 hastened Cortez Trotter's appointment as Chicago's first African-American fire commissioner.

But, he said, "We don't have to wait for something bad to happen before we do something that should be done. This diversity training should help people shed any biases or misconceptions they have while educating department members to the differences of the various people who make up our city."

In 1999, a $410,000 study by TriData Inc. portrayed the Chicago Fire Department as an "old boys' network" that divided employees between black and white, strikers and non-strikers and firefighters and paramedics.

The raucous 1990 retirement party at Engine 100 -- videotape shows firefighters drinking, using racial slurs and exposing themselves -- was the most publicized example of racial intolerance. But there were others.

A black firefighter assigned to a predominantly white firehouse had a swastika painted on his locker. And a Native American firefighter was the subject of a vicious campaign of physical and verbal abuse.


Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: Industry News, Training

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

Mechanical CPR is Producing Resuscitation Results Beyond Expectations

Discover why clinical studies are finding mechanical CPR just as effective as optimally-performed CPR.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

New York First Responders Take Extraordinary Steps to Help Residents

Snow causes fire and EMS crews to go beyond call of duty.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Raw Video: Explosion and Fire at California Business

Over a dozen hurt in Santa Paula blaze.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Four Workers Killed at Texas Chemical Plant

Five employees exposed to methyl mercaptan in La Porte.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Worker Killed in North Carolina Bridge Collapse

A fatal construction site collapse occurred in Wake County.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Plane Crashes into Chicago Home

Pilot reported engine trouble after takeoff.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Switzerland Landslide Kills Two, Injures Four

Slide hits residential building near Lugano.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

World Trade Center Rescue

Technical rescue work is done at nation’s tallest skyscraper.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

LMA MAD Nasal™

Needle-free intranasal drug delivery.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

VividTrac offered by Vivid Medical - EMS Today 2013

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


Multimedia Thumb

Field Bridge Xpress ePCR on iPad, Android, Kindle Fire

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


More Product Videos >