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Augusta fire chief Willis transferred to heart institute

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Augusta Fire Department Chief Howard Willis was transferred to University Hospital's Heart and Vascular Institute Wednesday after being transported to the emergency room earlier in the day, hospital spokeswoman Rebecca Sylvester said.

She said Willis is “resting comfortably” but could not provide details about his condition because doctors were still running tests.

Willis was initially transported by ambulance from work to the emergency room about 9:20 a.m., City Administrator Fred Russell said.

At the hospital, Willis had his wife, sons and a couple of firefighters by his side.

The incident appears unrelated to any department physical testing or activities, Russell said.

With Willis out, Mike Rogers, the deputy chief over technical services, is in charge, Russell said.

Rogers said administrators at the office made the decision to send Willis to the emergency room, although he would not describe what kind of complications Willis was having.

“It was a medical condition we thought he probably needed to be looked at,” Rogers said.

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traumaqueen
48
Points
traumaqueen 09/15/11 - 10:07 am
0
0
Copied & pasted from their

Copied & pasted from their website:
"When a life threatening medical emergency arises, the Augusta Fire Department is here to help. Some may wonder why a fire truck shows up when they called for an ambulance. Our trucks are staffed with trained First Responders, Emergency Medical Technicians, and Paramedics."

"With 19 fire stations strategically placed throughout the community, we can get to your crisis quickly and, in most cases, in half the time it takes an ambulance to respond."

"We feel it is our obligation to the community we serve to provide the best possible service. We live, work, and raise our families here and will continue to work hard at improving the Emergency Medical Service system in Augusta."

This is common practice in most, if not all, cities. RC has 8 ambulances that run 24 hours, total of 16 people. A low ball number for total staff on firetrucks for 24 hours is 66. Why is fire assistance constantly refused when requested by EMS? Fire is not requested for transport, it is for ASSISTANCE. I only know that the "not allowed" is not coming from the firefighters themselves, it is coming from above. RC has got some of the best & most amazing firemen you could ask for, you seriously can't get any better! This is a management issue.

Cassandra Harris
-3
Points
Cassandra Harris 09/15/11 - 10:50 am
0
0
Most true statement I've ever

Most true statement I've ever seen posted on the AC comments:

traumaqueen - "...RC has got some of the best & most amazing firemen you could ask for, you seriously can't get any better!..."

Absolutely! I feel for Chief Willis and his family, but these firefighters deserve to be given the support and equipment to do their jobs without losing their lives.

GodisSoGood
889
Points
GodisSoGood 09/15/11 - 12:44 pm
0
0
I personally know Chief

I personally know Chief Willis and his family, and it pains me to see what is being done to him in a public forum. This man is one of the must upstanding people I know, and the man you see at work is the man you see outside of work. This is a man who treats everyone fairly, and does the best he can with the resources he is provided. I'm sure there are times when equipment is needed that he can't get because the county commissioners are too sorry to come off the dollars for the equipment needed. Chief Willis would NEVER put another man's life in danger. Sounds to me like some of these men who keep talking about men being in danger are leaders, who themselves, do not know how to manage their own men on a fire scene.

Maybe if he does resign, Richmond County will realize what they have....the man is doing 2 jobs at the pay for 1. how many other people in this world would do such a thing, and do it quietly without demanding additional pay, or without demanding recognition for doing so?

raul
4461
Points
raul 09/15/11 - 01:03 pm
0
0
@traumaqueen. Thanks for your

@traumaqueen. Thanks for your response. Not sure I understand the math. If you have 8 ambulances running 3 shifts each for 24hrs. with 2 EMTs/Paramedics per ambulance isn't the staffing 48 personnel, rather than 16? Doen't sound like you are getting a complete answer on why firefighters are not allowed to respond to emergency assistance. Recommend you pose your concens, in writing, and request a written reply through your chain of command. Just a thought. Oh, and the issue of the Chief filling both Fire Chief and EMA Director wasn't specifically addressed to you. It was more of a general question, but again thanks for your response. I appreciate the job both EMA and Fire Services provide no matter where we live.

fftaz71
108
Points
fftaz71 09/15/11 - 05:39 pm
0
0
Raul...the staffing per day

Raul...the staffing per day would be 48, but per shift, it is just 16 vs the fire dept having somewhere around 66 per shift (which is in many cases a 24 hr shift). Another reason EMS often requests assistance from the fire side is that its possible, especially with only 8 ambulances, that it may be a long response time. The national standard is I believe 10 minutes or less from the initial dispatch for EMS to be on scene and starting care. IF they are tied up on other runs, if they do not use every available resource, then someone may die that didnt have to. To refuse to assist EMS is bad politics and makes the whole public safety system look bad...in fact, no public entity should EVER refuse to answer a call for help. Its not about staffing..in public safety it is about other peoples lives.

Godissogood...a person can be a fine upstanding person, but also be lacking in leadership. In my 20 yrs experience in the fire service, granted not here but elsewhere, if the firefighters are calling for a change of command, theres generally a good reason behind it. It is rare that firefighters do this kind of thing. Dont take it as a character assassination- take it for what it appears to be- a lack of confidence in their chief.
In this day and age, there is no excuse for firefighters NOT to have the equipment they need to do a job...if the commissioners wont get off their duffs and find the funds, there are multitudes of grants that are available specifically for fire departments.

I also agree with those who say that having the county fire chief as EMA Director is not the best choice either. How can he be the fire chief and run his department if hes tied down to the EMA facility? Im currently in NY and a prime example of what a conflict of interest this could be occurred here this week. A propane distribution facility exploded and created what is here, a 3 alarm fire. A school near by had to shelter students in place, homes had to be evacuated, the roads into town had to be shut down, 24 fire districts from 3 counties (we are not consolidated here) were called in for assistance...and they had to coordinate radio communications between all 3 counties b/c they operate on different frequencies. They had to bring in the red cross for assistance to the firefighters AND the families that were evacuated plus manage how to get these kids at the school home safely while propane tanks were exploding. The fire chief of the first due department handled mutual aid and fireground coordination while the county coordinators (equivalent to EMA directors) made everything else happen. Fortunately this happened in a department that recognized the dangers ahead of time, developed a rock solid pre-plan response, AND PRACTICED it every year for 5 yrs. The town managers have nothing but praise for the responses of everyone involved...but it could not have gone smooth if the fire chief had to do all the other coordinating.

raul
4461
Points
raul 09/15/11 - 05:57 pm
0
0
fftaz71. Thank you for your

fftaz71. Thank you for your response. Keep up the good work in NY.

Pu239
284
Points
Pu239 09/15/11 - 10:53 pm
0
0
South Star, Gold Cross,
Unpublished

South Star, Gold Cross, Capital City, and Rural Metro all serve the Augusta Metro Area..are you telling me there are only 2 trucks and 4 EMT per company/shift?

lsmith
105
Points
lsmith 09/15/11 - 11:29 pm
0
0
Middle age workers are being
Unpublished

Middle age workers are being systematically shoved aside everywhere. No respect for older employees who happen to fall short in credentials using todays employment guidelines. but happen to be leaders who have spent entire careers learning the ins and outs of their work places, working their way from the bottom to the top, learning every aspect of the craft. On the job experience over decades makes for a powerful asset in this day and time when diplomas and degrees can be bought at psuedo college and universities who will allow you to get a degree while sitting nude at your computer chomping on a hot dog and downing beers. Pay the fee and the title is yours.....

Never had much respect for unions anyway. Used to be in one, paid the dues because I had to in order to work at plant vogtle. Legalized extortion comes to mind. Jimmy Hoffa is a poster child for why unions should be carefully scrutinzed for their every endeavor. Hoffa comes from some very shady union family stock. Personally, I don't feel like firefighers or police officers should be represented by unions. Unions like to twist arms, call for strikes and as in recent events up north longshoremen cutting brakelines on trains etc....Essential services should not be encumbered by demands from union bosses who are all about the bottom line for the workers and little respect for whats best for keeping the public safe.

Lasty, unions are one of the core reasons why this country is losing jobs to other countries... wages and benefits paid to workers has to commensurate with that of the competing labor pool or you're out

I put little value on anything the local union hoss has to say about Howard Wills and I don't even know the man.............I do raise my eyebrows in disgust when that union official extols the benefits of ex chief ronnie few who wasted so much money on trinkets and toys. Enough so he was crucified by an independent grand jury.......yeah, I'm looking at the union hoss's testimony with a jaundiced eye for sure......

Vito45
-2
Points
Vito45 09/15/11 - 11:55 pm
0
0
lsmith, I've seen both sides

lsmith, I've seen both sides of it. As I mentioned in another thread, the company I work for is doing the leaner and meaner thing' A number of people have been involuntarily laid off just because their positions were eliminated.We are now in the second phase which involves the layoff of bottom tier performers as indicated by the last three performance appraisals. The majority getting the pink slip have been 25+ year people. That speaks volumes.

fftaz71
108
Points
fftaz71 09/18/11 - 11:27 am
0
0
lsmith, in the corporate

lsmith, in the corporate world, I would tend to agree with you regarding unions...however, in the public safety world where everything is politically based, I fully support the firefighters/police and even EMS having unions. The people in these fields (EMS isnt always privately run so I include them) are generally pawns in a political game and in this regard, the unions serve their purpose of fighting for what is right by them. They are prohibited by law from going on strike in the United States so that is a non-issue in the public safety world. Many times the first place budget cuts are made is in fire/police and sometimes EMS- usually in the form of benefits and jobs.
I cant speak so much for law enforcement and EMS, but I can say that there are rules that govern how many firefighters need to be on a fire scene and such. When budgets first started getting tighter, and fire dept budgets were being cut left and right paring many depts down to the bare bones minimum, there were fire departments that were skirting these rules. Unions in these fields protect their members from the political posturing vs strong arming their employers. The fire service unionized to protect its workers, but in doing so, they allow for better protection of the public they protect. In my hometown, where there are 98 firefighters on duty per shift, if they get 2 structure fires at the same time, they have to call the volunteer departments around the city limits to come back fill their firehouses in the city because they run on minimum manning of 2 maybe 3 per rig and in order to have an adequate number of firefighters on a scene they have to commit most of their resources to one or two scenes. The volunteer rigs will show up with minimum crews of 5-10 guys on a rig to fill in to the city. The sad part is the bean counters want them to cut down even more....

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