It is getting a lot uglier in New York over social media use by those in public safety. Today’s article by Candace M. Giove and Brad Hamilton in the New York Post takes the problem of Social Media Assisted Career Suicide Syndrome (SMACSS) in FDNY EMS beyond the fire commissioner’s son and the lieutenant with the racist tweets.
PLEASE PAY ATTENTION TO THE FOLLOWING: My prediction is this article will be national news by tomorrow and will have reverberations across the country on the use of social media by fire, EMS and police. If you have a similar problem in your own department, my suggestion is to take care of it now before it becomes news. There will soon be reporters everywhere looking for this.
Here’s how the article begins:
The Bad Lieutenant is part of a sick clique.
In addition to uploading racist rants and Nazi nonsense, EMS Lt. Timothy Dluhos also posted pictures of patients, including one of a heavy-set woman with a snarky caption Photoshopped over her wheelchair: “Wide Load.”
Publicizing photos of the ill, injured or dead without permission is a violation of city rules and federal privacy laws, but some first responders can’t resist snapping shots of people they’re supposed to be helping.
The photos of grisly corpses, gruesome wounds or humiliating circumstances provide fodder for mocking and gawking.
You may recall last Sunday’s story where reporter Candace Giove confronted Lt. Dluhos about his hate filled tweets. That’s when Lt. Dluhos, who is now suspended without pay, broke down and cried over the possibility of losing his job. Since then people claiming to be supporters of the lieutenant have targeted Candace Giove with a series of hate filled messages and death threats. Here is an excerpt from the New York Post article by Brad Hamilton:
On Wednesday night, Footer and P-Rock, hosts of an online radio program called “The Red Show,” poured out their admiration for Dluhos.
“I love him,” gushed P-Rock. “He’s a brave motherf–ker, but in the end he’s going to come out fine . . . He’s been cornered as a racist, and that’s not true. Tim’s our guy.”
“The guy’s getting railroaded here,” remarked Footer.
Dluhos called in to thank the radio show for its support. The two hosts then took pot shots at Giove. “Like I said to that dumb c—, ‘He’s out there saving lives!’ ” said Footer.
Then the hosts tried to guess the reporter’s ethnicity: “For me she looked a little yellow, like Middle Eastern. I don’t think she should be allowed to carry a backpack.”
Social Media Assisted Career Suicide Syndrome (SMACSS) seems to be a big problem these days. A week after exposing the tweets that resulted in the resignation from FDNY EMS of the son of Fire Commissioner Sal Cassano, The New York Post is at it again. This time they confronted EMS Lt. Timothy Dluhos about a series of ”racist, sexist, anti-Semitic and anti-Asian comments” on his Twitter feed. Lt. Dluhos broke down and cried.
Susan Edelman and Candace M. Giove wrote they met up with Dluhos on Friday in front of his home. Dluhos is 34-years-old and assigned to the Bedford-Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn. He told the reporters he was sorry and his life is ruined.
In his tweets, Dluhos referred to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg as “King Jew” and “King Heeb”.
* “I’m going to give up racial insults for Lent,” he tweeted Feb. 12. “Jesus that didn’t [last] too long. F–ken chinks can’t drive.”
* “Hahaha! I work with the coloreds,” he wrote in a Feb. 8 exchange. “For 12 years so that s–t just run off on me.”
* “Too bad he didn’t have rabies or AIDS and too bad he didn’t bite King Heeb’s face off,” he tweeted on Groundhog Day, Feb. 2, recalling when the groundhog Staten Island Chuck nipped Bloomberg at an event at the Staten Island Zoo.
* A gold Nazi-era pin with a German U-boat and a swastika is “my most prized artifact,” he boasted on Jan. 30.
* He repeatedly Photoshopped an image of an unnamed black teen — putting a Hitler mustache on one photo and a surgical mask on another with the caption, “I’s be a doxter.”
It comes less than a week after The Post exposed the vile racist and anti-Semitic tweets posted by Fire Commissioner Sal Cassano’s own EMT son. Joseph Cassano, 23, who quit the next day.
Forty-seven-year-old Lieutenant Richard Nappi of Engine 237, a 17-year veteran of the FDNY, died during a fire reported around 1:00 this afternoon at a warehouse on Flushing Avenue in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn. Lt. Nappi was a Bronx native who lived in Suffolk County. He has a wife Mary Anne, a 12-year-old daughter and an 11-year-old son. According to a statement from Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Lt. Nappi overheated, suffered exhaustion and collapsed.
A veteran city fire lieutenant died of an apparent heart attack on Monday afternoon while battling a three-alarm warehouse blaze in Brooklyn, the authorities said.
Fire Lt. Richard Nappi, 47, was commanding a hose line at the fire, at 930 Flushing Avenue in Bushwick, when he began feeling dizzy, Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano said. He soon went into cardiac arrest and was pronounced dead at Woodhull Medical center at 3:32 p.m., the authorities said.
“This is a very tragic day for New York City,” Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said at a news conference at Woodhull. “Someone who devoted his life to keeping us safe is no longer with us.”
A man is reported to be in serious condition after being rescued from his Coney Island home yesterday morning by the crew from FDNY's Ladder 161. It is one of 20 fire companies on the chopping block. Union officials say the ladder crew arrived on the scene within six-minutes of the fire at 3194 Bayview Avenue. Eight of the fire companies on the closing list are in Brooklyn. None of the articles had an official response from the city.
"This person would clearly not be alive if Mayor Bloomberg had his way," said President Steve Cassidy of the Uniformed Firefighters Association, "What happened early this morning should show the administration that these companies are vital in every neighborhood and should not be closed."
Cassidy also said that the backup company, Ladder 169 arrived 6 and a half minutes after 161 and that if the were the primary responders, today's blaze could of had a far more bad outcome
WCBS-TV says it has a partial list of what may be as many as 20 fire companies in New York that could be closed under Mayor Michael Bloomberg's budget cutting plan. Click above to watch the story.
Also in FDNY news, Glenn Usdin's FireTruckBlog.com takes a look at the expansion of the "Modified Response" program. Queens has been following the procedure since October and now Brooklyn and Staten Island will as well.
Sources said the demotion of Chief John Peruggia relates directly to the department’s problems in responding to the storm.
His replacement, Abdo Nahmod, captained the first combined Fire-EMS station, in Rossville, in 2003-04. Most recently, Nahmod has been deputy assistant chief overseeing the department’s Emergency Medical Dispatch.
“Despite Chief Peruggia’s dedicated service to this department, I felt new leadership was needed at this time,” said Cassano, a resident of Huguenot. “Last week’s blizzard presented tremendous challenges for the department that are currently being addressed with an eye toward improving performance.”
A source told the Advance that a rumored 70 percent of FDNY ambulances working in the storm got stuck in the snow, while private ambulance companies fared far better. At one point, there was a backlog of more than 1,300 emergency calls for assistance. In the case of a woman with a broken ankle, the wait stretched to 30 hours, and a child born unconscious at home was declared dead later at the hospital.
“We didn’t do the job we had wanted to do, that I wanted to do and everybody else wanted to do,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg has said.
Mr. Peruggia did not immediately respond to a phone call seeking comment Wednesday. But Patrick Bahnken, president of the Uniformed E.M.T.’s, Paramedics and Fire Inspectors F.D.N.Y., said Mr. Peruggia was being blamed for mistakes that were not in his control.
“I believe that there were some system failures that were certainly beyond his pay grade, and that he simply did not have the authority to make decisions or not make decisions,” he said. “Ultimately I am sure that the commissioner is going to continue to do a thorough review, and we anxiously await the final report when the commissioner is prepared to issue it. Certainly we will be looking at it very carefully.”
The breakdown came as the city is in the midst of overhauling its fragile 911 system — which is still using outdated radio and dispatch equipment — a project years in the making that is behind schedule and that city officials have said would provide dispatchers with better technology.
Federal prosecutors have also opened an investigation into the response by the Sanitation Department amid allegations of a work slowdown. But Mayor Bloomberg — despite his strong criticism of the E.M.S. response — has defended the Sanitation Department, denying that any intentional slowdown occurred. The sanitation commissioner, John J. Doherty, and the heads of the sanitation unions have also disputed allegations that workers deliberately botched the cleanup.
A person familiar with the matter said Mr. Peruggia also has been the subject of a Conflicts of Interest Board probe in connection with allegations he took a free trip from a vendor that does business with the FDNY. Mr. Peruggia is accepting the board’s findings and is expected to be fined, the person said.
Last week, Mayor Michael Bloomberg voiced enormous dismay with the performance of the 911 system during the storm. “We take our emergency life-saving responsibilities very seriously and I’m extremely dissatisfied with the way our emergency-response systems performed,” he said a week ago Wednesday.The mayor said the city’s 911 system became overwhelmed by the deluge of calls. On Monday, the city received more than 49,400 calls to 911, the sixth-largest volume in history, resulting that night in a backlog of roughly 1,700 calls to the NYPD and FDNY. He ordered a comprehensive review of the 911 call-taking and dispatch functions, as some of the loved ones of those who died have taken to the airwaves to express their grief and anger at the city’s sluggish response to the storm.
The administration is examining, among other things, whether ambulances should have taken different routes, and whether emergency personnel should have parked farther away from scenes and walked.
A fascinating video: A delivery man spotted a small apartment fire yesterday in Racine, Wisconsin. Being a good citizen he went inside and started alerting neighbors by banging on doors. Good for him. But as we know, it isn’t just good enough to do that in the modern times we live in. The incident would not have officially occurred if there wasn’t video of the man’s actions. Thankfully that video exists. It is courtesy of the same delivery man. He provides narration, and a couple shots of himself in action. He who is soon joined by a police officer who beats the fire department to the scene. Long ago I predicted, that with all of the cameras and the need to shoot everything, we would soon have a rescue where both the rescuer and rescuee were taking video. We are not there yet. But I think we have officially taken a step closer to reaching my goal.
Strut alert: If you missed it, with the help of Firefighter Close Calls, we have posted raw dashcam video of a vehicle fire this summer in Austin, Texas. It shows a number of small explosions, including struts becoming flying missiles. Click here for the video.
I don’t like Dave Slater: Who can blame him? But that’s one of the many comments sent in about my position on the video of the trooper from Connecticut’s confrontation with a news photographer. I am clearly in a losing battle, but I am going down fighting as I almost single-handedly try to be the protector of our Constitution and way of life. And when I say losing, I’m losing big time. The vast majority of the people writing in think whether a citizen or the press can roll video at an emergency scene is not (or should not be) protected under our First Amendment, but instead is a decision we have handed over to the government in the form of first responders. That scares me for so many reasons. But I answer each one who writes in with a variety of arguments about why that’s not a good idea. I also point out that even though you may believe that’s how it works, the law of the land as determined by the people who formed our government, says otherwise. Maybe what amazes me more is that a news photographer, who is standing with the public and not up close to the working first responders at a fatal crash, is made out to the devil. All you see on his raw, unedited video is a burning car, with the body already gone. Many of the writers indicate the press should not roll video at any scene where someone has died. I know I am an insensitive, biased, former reporter jerk for thinking that our freedoms in this country overrides what offends people. There’s a lot more to what many think are really stupid arguments by me. Read it for youself.
Firefighter in two states and suspected arsonist in both: Both Pennsylvania and West Virginia authorities have neen investigating a volunteer firefighter for possibly setting fires. Charges have already been brought in Pennsylvania. Read the details.
Montgomery County, Maryland firefighter breaks leg while hitting hydrant: The Washington Post reports the lay-out man during an electrical fire in Silver Spring found his leg wrapped in the hose. Here’s a few details.
More fire videos for you: Dayton, Kentucky found five frozen hydrants as firefighter tried to handle two homes burning. Click here. Helmet-cam video from West Plains, Missouri. Click here. Hackensack, New Jersey two-alarm house fire. Click here.
Republican filibuster blocks 9-11 health bill: New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg calls it “a devastating indictment of Washington politics, a tragic example of partisan politics trumping patriotism.” Senate republicans blocked the 9-11 health bill in its first key senate vote by “sticking to a party pledge to block anything until the tax deal extending the Bush-era cuts for the wealthy passes”. Here are the details from the New York Daily news.
Tombstone volunteer jumps into action as his own home burns: An interesting story from Arizona about a disabled volunteer firefighter and a fire that destroyed his apartment & his pickup truck. But he went to work trying to keep the fire from spreading. Here it is.
A man was arrested Saturday on suspicion of setting a small fire at the temporary home for the remains of thousands of World Trade Center victims, police said.
Police announced the arrest nearly 12 hours after the fire, which was set following a break-in. Charges against the 26-year-old were pending, police said.
The smoldering flames in a section of the facility’s chapel on Manhattan’s East Side were quickly extinguished.
Firefighters got a call at about 9 a.m. to respond to Memorial Park, a weatherproof tent on Manhattan’s East Side where the city is storing the remains of 9/11 victims who have yet to be identified.
The fire damaged a wooden bench, while mementos — pictures, notes, flowers — honoring the dead disappeared.
“Anyone who would set fire to the inviolable Memorial Park chapel is craven and contemptible,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a statement.
Fire marshals and police were investigating.
Nazli Parvizi, the mayor’s community affairs commissioner, sent 9/11 families an e-mail informing them of the incident. Sally Regenhard, whose son perished at the World Trade Center, forwarded the statement to The Associated Press.
Parvizi told the families that about an hour before the fire started, a break-in was discovered in the chapel. Memorial Park is near the city medical examiner’s office, which created special photo IDs to be used by families to enter the site.
Authorities were unsure whether the mementos had been stolen or burned, “but little remains inside the chapel,” said Parvizi, adding that the structure showed some smoke damage.