For the last couple of years, the Reedy Creek Fire Department — which exclusively serves the Walt Disney World Resort — has been struggling in a number of ways. The department was hit incredibly hard by COVID and had to take unpaid time off or use all of their vacation time if they got sick. From there, things have seemingly only gotten more difficult for them. Constantly having to deal with being short-staffed has led to delayed response times, which in turn has led to things like a Guest dying of anaphylactic shock. The Reedy Creek Fire Department has also been told to stop calling on Orange and Osceola County fire departments for assistance.
Keeping a department understaffed and not putting the necessary funds into it is starting to take its toll. A new report from WESH2 — an Orlando-based news station — recently came out with a new report, showing fire trucks sitting unused because they are in such disrepair. On certain calls, Reedy Creek emergency service personnel are being forced to use SUVs instead of the trucks because that is all they have available.
“On a normal day, we would have four fire engines and eight ambulances running all of the calls that serve the entire Disney property. Right now, we have only two of our fire engines actually in service, one tower truck, and then we have another crew that’s running out of our heavy rescue which does not have firefighting equipment on there,” Jon Shirey, president of the Reedy Creek Professional Firefighters Union, said.
Shirey provided photos that show gear piled into the trunk of a Ford Escape and uniforms on the floor next to the doors.
Videos from Shirey also show the units breaking down. One video depicts the gauge shifting into drive, but when the driver steps on the gas, the vehicle doesn’t move.
Shirey says it had to be towed from an emergency room ambulance bay.
Shirey also shared that they had a patient who had suffered from cardiac arrest and the transport vehicle they were in broke down, and they were forced to call for another vehicle. After that, one of their own firefighters was injured and the vehicle he was being transported in also broke down while he was in it. This could potentially lead to catastrophic and deadly consequences should a vehicle break down in an extreme emergency situation.
Shirey said that he has shared his concerns with the Reedy Creek administrators, but no changes have been made, no fixes have been performed, and no response has been given. Reedy Creek has also not responded to press requests for more information on the issue.