NEW YORK CITY – FDNY paramedics and emergency medical technicians are calling for the dismissal of FDNY EMS chief Abdo Nahmod after readiness and evacuation problems during Hurricane Sandy reportedly come to light.
According to the New York Post the unions representing FDNY EMS personnel and EMS officers had cast a vote of “no confidence” in Chief Nahmod after EMS stations become flooded and ambulances stranded during Hurricane Sandy. Nahmod reportedly jeopardized the safety of personnel and citizens by not calling for an evacuation of the flooded quarters, according to an online resolution, says the Post.
Unlike their firefighting coworkers, who had begun making preparations 72 hours in advance, EMS personnel say that they were not directed to evacuate flood areas until it was too late. EMS stations also reportedly lacked food, water and power despite a hurricane readiness plan. The Post reports that in Rockaway, one pair of paramedics were forced to take refuge on the top of their ambulance as the station flooded. As the Superstorm continued and ambulances became submerged, firefighters were reportedly forced to transport patients in the back of pickup trucks.
Critics say that Chief Nahmod disregarded a department policy calling in off-duty personnel during a major emergency. FDNY Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano countered critics by stating that he had ordered all FDNY personnel - firefighters, paramedics and EMTs – to stay in service and in quarters as long as possible during the storm. Commissioner Cassano also stated his confidence in Nahmod and is performance before, during and after Hurricane Sandy.
Chief Nahmod is a 26-year veteran of the department and holds an advanced degree in Homeland Security. Appointed to his position last year, Nahmod replaces former EMS Chief John Peruggia after controversy and backlash following ambulance delays during the December 2010 blizzard.