More Boston Firefighters Added to EMS Certification Investigation

Three more were added to the probe bringing the number to 21.


 
 

O'RYAN JOHNSON, The Boston Herald | | Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Three more Boston firefighters were tagged yesterday in a state probe for allegedly faking their EMT recertification - bringing to 21 the number of Hub jakes who could face discipline or prosecution for submitting false training records, Fire Commissioner Roderick Fraser said.

The top jake said the internal investigation has already identified firefighters who were paid roughly $2,000 each in overtime as an incentive to get recertified, but never attended the training.

``In a sense, it's fraud,'' said Boston City Councilor Stephen J. Murphy, the council's public safety chairman. ``They should forfeit any money they have been given. I'm not happy about it because people are skirting the system and falsifying records that may impact public safety.''

Fraser said investigators also found some of the jakes snared in the probe never turned in false paperwork or requests for incentive pay. He said those firefighters will not face internal discipline since EMT certification is not a job requirement, but they could face punishment from the state.

``We're still checking everyone's records,'' Fraser said. ``It goes back a couple years. We'll take that data and go back and . . . see if they didn't actually do it, but turned in their paperwork and lied.''

Boston Firefighters Local 718 head Edward Kelly declined to comment.

The Boston firefighters were swept up in a state Office of Emergency Medical Services investigation of training records that has implicated some 200 EMTs statewide. Fraser said the 900 Hub jakes with EMT certifications are encouraged to maintain them, and are awarded 37.5 hours of overtime as an incentive to finish the course.

Jennifer Manley, spokeswoman for the Department of Public Health, which oversees the EMS office, said investigators are poring through attendance rosters for suspected bogus classes.

Manley said the public health department sent out a memo May 19 to all EMTs, ambulance companies and instuctors asking any who knew about falsified recertification records to step forward.

Fraser would not identify any of the targeted jakes, but he did say they included a district chief, two captains and two lieutenants.



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