The Reedy Creek Fire Department is currently being forced to respond to medical emergencies in regular SUVs as their trucks and rescue units break down, WESH 2 reports.
“On a normal day, we would have four fire engines and eight ambulances running all of the calls that serve the entire Disney property. Right now, we have only two of our fire engines actually in service, one tower truck, and then we have another crew that’s running out of our heavy rescue which does not have firefighting equipment on there,” Jon Shirey, president of the Reedy Creek Professional Firefighters Union, said.
Shirey provided WESH with photos of gear and uniforms in a Ford Escape. Shirey also provided videos of the units breaking down. One showed the gauge shifting into drive but the vehicle failing to move when the driver steps on the gas. That vehicle had to be towed from an emergency room ambulance bay.
“We’ve had multiple situations because of how poorly maintained our fleet of vehicles is, where an ambulance will break down en route to critical calls,” Shirey said. “We had a cardiac arrest call where the responding rescue broke down and then we had to send a separate rescue to go in and fill in for him. We had an incident where one of our own firefighters got injured on the job and had to be transported and the vehicle broke down en route to the hospital with him in it, so it’s a major safety concern for us.”
Shirey said he has brought his concerns to the Reedy Creek administration, but they haven’t responded. The communications director of the board declined to comment for WESH. They also reached out to every board member but have not received any responses.
The union has voiced concerns about the fire department for months now, even before Governor DeSantis signed a law to dissolve the Reedy Creek Improvement District. The union says the department is short-staffed, and the new law could mean first responders will lose benefits. Shirey has also expressed concern about delays due to a policy recently enacted by the Reedy Creek Fire Chief.
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