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Critical Report of Fire Department Training Program

Craig Nigrelli

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Critical Report of Fire Department Training Program

CREATED Aug. 29, 2013

Omaha, NE - A 20 page report from the State Department of Health and Human Services, dated August 21, details an early August inspection of the Omaha Fire Department's Emergency Medical Service Training Agency.  The training program for paramedics and EMTs failed on seven of nine criteria including: clinical and field experience, EMS courses, facilities and equipment, as well as agency quality.

Mayor Jean Stothert delivered a scathing statement on Thursday night saying, "The inspection of the current paramedic training class and findings are of great concern and must be addressed immediately.  The failure rating is unacceptable.  This current paramedic class has been the source of increased costs in the Fire Department budget.  We owe it to the taxpayers to solve it immediately.  The city is prepared to take action which could include discipline and discontinuing the class. "

We contacted Mike McDonnell, who retired as Chief on Monday after reaching a deal with the Mayor to leave.  He said by the time the report actually came out on August 21st, the Department had rectified at least five of the seven deficiencies.  When Anchor Craig Nigrelli asked McDonnell if this might have been the final straw and if he thought Stothert was preparing to fire him after receiving the critical report, McDonnell replied, "Terminate me for what ? What's the reason? She never said that to me, and she had the report. "

Firefighters Union President Steve LeClair also weighed-in.  He questioned the timing of the inspection saying, "It seems like the clock was moved up considerably by Health and Human Services."  LeClair says he was under the impression that the inspection would be done in October or November.  He would not speculate why it happened earlier.