Friday, August 19, 2011

Up In Smoke, and why is EMS treated different then other employees?

Nicotine Tests Could Cost Fla. Medics Their Jobs

The above article is the top news story on right now. Long story short, it appears that the county is now in the EMS buisness, so the EMS employees are now County Employees. The policy change doesn't go into effect until October of this year.

I've never been able to understand why so many people in EMS, the fire service, and LEO's smoke. We've all seen people dying of tobacco-related cancers. My favorite irony is seeing a firefighter come outside from a fire, and take off his mask on his way to rehab... and light up a smoke. If you really want to inhale smoke and carcinogens, why bother wearing a pack?

To be honest, I'm of mixed opinions. While I personally, don't smoke, and can't understand why people do (it's disgusting and harmful to your health). I don't see that my employer (especially a government employer) has any right to tell me what I can and can't do when I'm NOT at work/in uniform.

My biggest concern of the whole article, though, is this line:

The nicotine test only applies to uniformed workers, like law enforcement. Paramedics and ambulance crew members will be required to take a nicotine test starting on Oct. 1.”

Why does it only apply to uniformed workers? Is there a different policy that applies to the rest of the county employees? The ones that sit behind desks all day, and get real lunch breaks? The article isn't clear, and I can't find anything else quickly online – If someone can enlighten me, I'd appreciate it. If there is no policy for the “office dwellers” - than this policy is out of line.

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