Beverly Hills, CA

State Vaccine Mandate Removes Life-Saving Equipment from Fire Engines

Los Angeles Bay Incidents

The Beverly Hills Fire Department (BHFD) has removed all unvaccinated paramedics from performing patient care, Engines 2 and 3 were removed of all Advanced life-saving (ALS) equipment and are not staffed with paramedics. Do note that all these employees were compliant with the guidelines given for unvaccinated members of the department which were PPE and weekly covid testing. All unvaccinated paramedics were moved to Truck 4 which does not perform any medical calls. The city's hands were tied as they have to comply with the county health orders and there are no current rules or regulations for firefighters who are unvaccinated. Engines usually arrive first on scene and tend ALS or basic life-support (BLS) to the patient as it takes a while for an ambulance to arrive on the scene and usually the fire department is first to arrive on the scene. The only equipment on these engines was BLS equipment and not the equipment that can be used to rehabilitate life or to save a life.

The State of California requires all firefighters to have basic medical training but it's not required to be a certified paramedic as a result, paramedics and emergency medical technicians (EMTs) are not considered healthcare workers to the state and don't have to get vaccinated per state health order. The county of Los Angeles department of public health included paramedics and EMTs alongside healthcare workers to get vaccinated in order to work on patients. When there are paramedics available on shift at a fire station, engines are stocked with ALS equipment as it can save a person's life when an ambulance can sometimes be on scene 1 to 3 minutes after an engine and within those minutes, ALS can help stabilize a patient once an ambulance arrives and can be rushed to a hospital. Having paramedics on engines is essential and shouldn't be taken off just because they're unvaccinated. An anonymous source from inside the BHFD has stated that one patient died from cardiac arrest as a result of not having ALS equipment onboard the engine.

As of now, 4 firefighters have been granted a temporary (30 day) medical exemption, 1 firefighter has been granted a medical exemption, 14 firefighters have been granted a temporary (30 day) religious exemption, and 6 firefighters were denied exemptions and have been placed on unpaid leave. (5 have now been vaccinated, 1 is still on unpaid leave). - Via Instagram

These are the results of a month-long result of how the city and the fire department would respond to the county vaccine mandate, there weren't any guidelines given by the department or the city. The city just needed to be in accordance with the County Health Guidelines. The County guidelines state that all paramedics and emergency technicians alongside healthcare workers must be vaccinated in order to keep those they work on safe. It's not the cities fault but the county's as they were the ones who put the vaccine mandate in place for healthcare workers. The State mandate does not require paramedics and EMTs to be vaccinated under the healthcare worker vaccine mandate.

Beverly Hills firefighters are protesting the vaccine mandates who are against being vaccinated and want it to be left as a personal choice. The Beverly Hills Firefighter's Association says that they're in full support of the protests about the vaccine mandate.

The city has also required firefighters and other city employees to be vaccinated meaning that it's not only the fire department needing to be fully vaccinated to work. The whole fire department needs to be vaccinated due to state guidelines requiring all firefighters in the state have to take an EMT class and pass in order to be qualified to be a firefighter meaning that all firefighters have to be vaccinated in the county of LA.

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Beverly Hills Courier

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