Firefighters have many things to worry about on a daily basis.

Whether or not to save a life because it might risk suspension shouldn’t be one of them.

Virginia firefighters Captain James Kelley and Sergeant Virgil Bloom of the Falmouth Volunteer Fire Department in Stafford County, Virginia were suspended after they transported an 18–month old child to the hospital in their fire truck instead of an ambulance.

They were the first responders on the scene at a McDonald’s restaurant where the child was having a seizure.

The volunteer’s quick thinking may have saved the child’s life as they believed the nearest ambulance was too far out to help.

Fox 5 DC reports:

Kelley said he immediately told the driver of the truck to turn on the engine because the child was in dire need of a hospital. Based on a previous call location for the nearest medic, Kelley said he thought it would be at least 10 to 15 minutes before one could arrive at the location.

Kelley said he asked for a location from the nearest medic, but didn’t receive a specific answer until after his second request, and even then, the information he got was “southbound on Route 1,” without any other specifics. Kelley also said he asked for mutual aid from the city of Fredericksburg, but no one was ever dispatched.

After the child was put into the fire engine and they were en route to Mary Washington Hospital, Kelley says another ambulance requested to meet up with the engine at Falmouth Station—but because of his proximity to the hospital at that point, Kelley denied that request.

According to Kelley, the child was put on oxygen in the fire engine and was in the trauma room within 13 minutes of the time the call came in.”

The young girl had another seizure in the emergency room when the girl’s father, Brian Nunamker, arrived at the hospital.

Worried about possible paralysis on the girl’s left side, the doctors transferred her about an hour south to VCU hospital.

Fox 5 DC reports:

“’The neurologists at VCU explained that timing is extremely important when reacting to seizures,” Nunamaker said. My wife and I are extremely grateful for the assistance provided by the first responders, 911 operator, medical staff at Mary Washington and VCU, and the passerby that stopped by to assist.’

‘My wife and I feel terrible for the fallout that has happened to these two gentlemen,’ Nunamaker said in his statement to FOX 5.

‘They simply had the best interests for our daughter’s care in mind.  We are extremely thankful they made the decisions they did, and that our daughter is back home with us doing well.  The actions of these men represent a dedication to their mission, and a deep concern of doing what is best for the people they are serving.  In our eyes, they are heroes.’”

The good news is the young girl is home and recovering as if the incident had never happened.

The bad news is the volunteer heroes are facing suspension for saving a child’s life by rushing her to the hospital in their fire engine instead of waiting for an ambulance.

Because the fire engine used was licensed as a “non-transport unit,” it’s not equipped with several safety restraints and medications that an ambulance would typically have.

A spokesperson for Stafford County Fire and Rescue Department indicated the incident is under review by the department and the Virginia Department of Health.

What do you think?

Should the firefighters be suspended for breaking the rules and rushing the 18-month old to the hospital in their fire truck instead of waiting for an ambulance?