Firefighters suspended after helping a child because they transported her in a fire engine
Two Virginia firefighters are in trouble after taking a little girl to the hospital thanks to a rule that almost no one thinks should exist.
Brian Nunamaker was driving home after running errands on February 27 with his 18-month-old daughter when she started to have a seizure. He pulled over near a McDonald’s and called 911. Shortly after, two volunteer firefighters who work in nearby areas were on the scene to help. Captain James Kelley and Sgt. Virgil Bloom asked the father a few questions about the medical episode his daughter experienced before quickly transporting her to a nearby hospital, Fox 5 DC reported.
Kelley said he made the decision to take the little girl by fire truck because she was in dire need of medical attention and he didn’t think the nearest medic would make it in time. He’s a professional first responder, so he’s used to making crucial decisions very quickly.
He’s now being punished for making that choice by Stafford County officials who suspended him and Bloom saying that the fire truck they were in that day is licensed as a “non-transport unit,” devoid of the necessary restraints and medications that other units have.
So what should he have done? Let a small child suffer longer or possibly die because of a rule?
Literally no one thinks these two firefighters should be punished except the county. Not the parents of the child, the doctors that helped her at the hospital, other nearby fire officials or the people online who weighed in on the story.
2 volunteer firefighters suspended for taking child to hospital in engine. Should they be? https://t.co/hVvfsdx2pN
— FOX 5 DC (@fox5dc) March 5, 2016
Nunamaker told media outlets he feels terrible that the firefighters were treated this way. “They simply had the best interests for our daughter’s care in mind. We are extremely thankful they made the decisions they did, and that our daughter is back home with us doing well,” he said. “The actions of these men represent a dedication to their mission, and a deep concern of doing what is best for the people they are serving.”
The doctors that helped the little girl also supported the firefighters’ decision. The neurologists that treated the toddler told Nunamaker that timing is a crucial element when reacting to seizures. Kelley and Bloom were able to get the little girl to the hospital only 13 minutes after the call came in. That quick timing is likely one of the reasons she is back at home and acting like the medical episode never happened.
Kelley said when this situation happens in the district where he works, the firefighters are praised not punished. “As a parent, you feel extremely helpless to be unable to assist the most important person in the world (your child) during such a time of emergency,” Nunamaker said. “In our eyes, they are heroes.”