Firefighters are in the business of saving lives. Some of the actions that they perform include CPR on someone who can’t breathe or saving someone from a burning house. A few employees with the Bellingham Fire Department are being investigated and have resigned after they took part in a training exercise. While some might not question a training exercise that could offer new techniques for saving a life, these firefighters are accused of using a few horrible actions. They practiced endotracheal intubations on a patient who was dead.
The fire department received a call in July regarding someone who was having a medical issue. When firefighters and other personnel arrived, they discovered that the person had died. Instead of calling the proper authorities, they took the body back to the fire department so that they could practice their intubations. If there is any kind of positive news about the situation, the fire department did call a local funeral home and was waiting for someone to arrive while they were performing the intubations.
Fire Chief Bill Newbold has made the recommendation that the men be fired and is astonished by the actions that were performed. This is not the kind of behavior that is exhibited by the department or by other departments across the state and country. The firefighter who was in charge of the medical response is one who knew right from wrong and should have been aware that practicing intubations on a dead body was something that the department just didn’t do for training purposes. Training often takes place in an organized setting and is performed in a hospital, at the fire department with mannequins, or while in the field with a trained responder who monitors the situation. The fire department understands that it has to make these actions right with the public and wants to do what is necessary to gain the trust of the community again.