Should more be done to protect first responders?
Posted at: 04/11/2013 5:45 PM
By: Joangel Concepcion | WHEC.com
The hostage incident in Georgia involving firefighters may have brought back some terrible memories of the Christmas Eve tragedy in Webster. It also brought up a question, should we be doing more to protect our first responders?
Several fire officials News10NBC talked to said it is not time to change procedures for first responders. That is except for the departments in Webster.
News10NBC visited the West Webster Fire Department. Their policy is police must be present for every single call that goes into the department. They say they have been following this procedure even before the Christmas Eve tragedy.
The other departments News10NBC spoke to in Greece, Brighton and East Rochester do not require having a police presence at every call. They know the police will show up if they need them.
West Webster firefighters were extremely concerned about the hostage situation Wednesday. News10NBC asked if they were thinking about increasing security.
Al Sienkiewicz, West Webster Fire Department, said, “Not really. We pretty much have policies and procedures in place to deal with that. We stage that if we know we're going into a situation that where there could be concerns for our safety, we hang back. We stage back. We also do other things to protect our members here that I rather not discuss.”
The West Webster Fire Chief James Deisenroth released a statement, “The men and women of the West Webster Fire District were immediately concerned as we received the word of the hostage situation that occurred Wednesday in Georgia involving first responders. Our hearts sank as we began to think of our brother firefighters and what they were up against. We had concern for their safety, the safety of other emergency responders on scene, for their families and for any potential bystanders. We considered the community and what it was going through and the level of stress for every person directly or indirectly tied to the incident. We remained focused on positive thoughts and followed the incident as it unfolded through various media outlets. At the time that the outcome of the incident was reported, we felt an immediate sense of relief, considering how much worse it could have been. Without knowing all of the details that are still being worked through their investigation, it is obvious that the calm demeanor of the firefighters and dispatchers, along with the quick and professional actions of the police resulted in the best possible outcome considering the conditions. We are thankful for all of the men and women that participated in protecting our brothers and for bringing this incident to rapid conclusion. We wish for a speed recovery to all of those injured during the incident and send our sincere gratitude to the members of every agency involved for the work that they do.”