There’s been a plethora of news lately with the name “saying Disney’s “woke ideology” could cost the company its “special privileges” in Florida. ” in the headline. After Disney CEO Bob Chapek spoke out against and the passing of Florida’s Parental Rights in Education legislation, backfired,
Only weeks later, the Florida State legislature voted to repeal Disney’s special , a so-called “special ” that essentially gives Disney complete autonomy and establishes the ability for Disney to self-govern.
The also has its own first responders, including and paramedics. The is currently hiring more to serve the after filed a complaint regarding a shortage. But a policy enacted in April might make Guests of the Resort wait longer for the help they need, according to the union’s president, Jon Shirey.
According to an internal email from April 11, the order the department to cease requesting assistance from departments in neighboring entities for non- transport and for medical or for help with things like building fires.
In an , the says that can still call on Orange and Osceola County Rescues, but if that happens, communications staff must notify their commanders, according to the email.
On April 28, a grievance was filed by the , claiming the change in policy does not line up with the association’s agreement with . Ongoing negotiations are currently taking place between the union and .
Under the ‘s new policy, critical care could be delayed, and according to the union president, are already seeing the effects of it. Since commanders have to approve the additional assistance in situations, critical, life-saving care could be delayed one minute or more–during a medical event in which every second counts.
The are concerned that the effects could be felt in non- , as some that begin as urgent, but not , can escalate quickly into , especially when children are involved.
“It’s just going to lead to bad outcomes,” he said. “It’s not a matter of ‘if’ – it’s just ‘when.'”
On , if a breaks out, the ‘s new policy means that must first arrive at the scene of the and then request additional assistance. Again, that assistance must be approved by a commander.
Reedy Creek spokeswoman, Eryka Washington Perry, says the ‘s mutual assistance policy with Orange County and Osceola County “remains intact.”
“Orange and Osceola Counties and [ ] are always working together to maximize our ability to safely and efficiently respond to the needs of the public,” she said in a statement.
In records released by , dispatchers and responders reference a policy change when dealing with a recent incident at on that involved an injured teenager at the .
In December 2021, a call for assistance was placed to the from Disney’s Tower near ut because of shortages at , it took more than 13 minutes for a rescue unit from outside the arrive to arrive at the Disney Vacation Club property.
Per the call log from December 12, 2021, a medical team got to Tower at less than 10 minutes after dispatch. It was 20 minutes before the female Guest received epinephrine, which is given to patients experiencing a myocardial infarction, or heart attack. The drug increases the rate and force of contractions in the heart, which in turn increases the output of the patient’s blood and helps to raise her blood pressure. It also increases blood flow to the heart muscle itself and to the brain while paramedics are performing CPR. Epinephrine is often life-saving.
That afternoon, the patient died at a local hospital.
“Had more people initially responded, [the Guest] likely would have received the drug sooner and would have had a better chance of survival,” Union President Shirey explained.
Shirey says many union member dissolve the have added to the anxiety and stress of the who might stand to lose their jobs and their benefits if the dissolution takes place. are frustrated by the new policy, and recent news of the legislation passed to
Shirey says he believes the change in policy was made so that Disney and can limit documentation of requests for assistance, saying that doing so could help to limit “bad press.”
According to the , those happen often:
“From mid-December to the week of the policy change, the requested mutual aid from the Orange and Osceola County agencies 57 times, for an average of more than three per week, data showed. Of those, 26 involved responders arriving at the scene.
“Subsequent records showed county agencies responded to just two total from over the following two weeks after the union said the new policy took effect. None assisted at the scene.”
“If we keep beating them up over the amount of mutual aid and keep ringing the bell of how we’re understaffed and it’s not safe, well, if you take away the mutual aid , that’s one less argument that we can use,” Shirey said.
Ms. Perry confirmed that the is hiring and hopes to fill its firefighter and first responder vacancies shortly.
Shirey said the employs more than 200 people, a number that represents just over half of the ‘s total number of employees. is hiring for 10 positions. Currently, the
Shirey says that staff and Guests will blame first responders when there are delays in critical care.
“They’re gonna wonder why we took so long and why we weren’t here quicker to deal with this problem,” Shirey said. “And we could say, ‘Oh, it’s our chief’s fault,’ but tell that to the family of somebody who’s going through a medical problem. They don’t want to hear excuses; they want you to fix whatever’s going on.”
There’s also the concern that first responders could be held legally responsible for these delays–delays that are out of their control.
“We take it very personally, and if somebody were to have a bad outcome from something that’s wholly preventable, it’s going to be hard for us,” he said.