fdnytowel.jpgIn a startling coincidence with the unofficial beginning of summer and the official opening of NYC beaches on Memorial Day weekend, the FDNY says that it can no longer afford to have special patrols by emergency medical technicians to come to the aid of the ailing and injured at the beach. Budget cuts apparently necessitated the curtailment. The EMT union told WCBS news that the FDNY is cutting patrols on city beaches on the days when they're most likely needed and that the department's special sand-roving beach vehicles will be a rare, if not nonexistent, sight this summer.

Parks Dept. Commissioner Adrian Benepe said that the elimination of beach patrols by EMTs was news to him. A state assemblyman representing the Rockaways was incensed, saying that it posed a serious danger to beach goers. A spokesperson for the FDNY said that the funds used for special patrols on the beach would be best used elsewhere and that normal ambulance service was sufficient to serve the public.

News of the EMT cutbacks comes on the heels of demands by the FDNY to have pay increases comparable to those just received by the NYPD. Earlier this week the Uniformed Firefighters Association announced that given the 10% retroactive pay hike that police just received, it was going to reexamine the most recent contract it negotiated with the City.