SAN ANTONIO, TX The San Antonio Firefighters Union announced Tuesday that its members feel poorly prepared to respond to the threat of Ebola, a
nd it filed a formal complaint with the state.
The Association sent the complaint to the Department of Health Services. In it, the Association said that not only are first responders lacking the proper equipment to handle Ebola exposure, but also lacking proper training.
“When they first put the policy out on October 1, it said we needed gowns, which we had. It said we need to gloves which we had. It said full face protection. We didn’t have that and we still don’t have it,” said Chris Steele of the San Antonio Firefighters Association.
At a press conference, Daniel Rubalcalba, a registered nurse with National Nurses United, voiced support for Nina Pham, the Ebola infected nurse in Dallas.
“She’s shown a lot of courage in the face of this, but we don’t want another person infected with Ebola,” said Rubalcalba.
City Manager Sheryl Sculley stressed that the city is well prepared to take on Ebola. She called the Fire Union’s complaint to the state, “A reckless attempt to alarm our community.”
Mayor Ivy Taylor also weighed in saying, “Our Firefighters and Paramedics are among the best trained public safety personnel in the country. San Antonio residents can rest assured that we are prepared, equipped and ready to manage any possible crisis.”
San Antonio Fire Chief Charles Hood said, “I feel every firefighter and paramedic around the country has questions and concerns about Ebola. But I think it’s imperative as professionals and as lifelines to our city to not mislead the public or cause additional fear.”
The Firefighters Association said its not stopping at the state level, and they’re looking into filing a federal complaint as well.