New Detroit fire policy forcing crime scene cleanup upsets union boss

A new Detroit Fire Department policy has union boss Mike Nevin hot under the collar.

"You don't just take a biohazard and point your firehose and blast blood and bodily fluids towards a sewer," Nevin said.

The procedure clarifies when firefighters and EMT's are to clean up blood and bodily fluids at crime, injury, and medical first responder scenes.

"There's cross-contamination issues. there's contamination issues. this is just, this is just bad, bad work here," Nevin said.

It is work that Nevin believes will compromise response times.

"We are still cleaning up blood here," said one firefighter during a 911 call.

Nevin says that call was from March 5th, the same day the new procedure was implemented.

"The other night we had a medic that was, central office was looking for a medic to send them to an emergency and they were out of service due to a blood cleanup," said Nevin.

"This policy does not affect response times as it's not a change in anything we've been doing previously," said Robert Distelrath, Detroit Fire Department.

Chief of departments Robert Distelrath says the procedure merely clarifies work firefighters and EMTs were already doing. In a statement, the fire department says all DFD emergency responders have everything they need for the new policy which was approved by Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

"The apparatuses are all fitted with the equipment that's required for this policy. the members are trained," Distelrath said.

Nevin, however, disagrees.

"We have some basic EMT, medical first responder training," Nevin said. "We understand how to deal with blood-borne pathogens, but as far as actual clean up and mitigation of scenes, no, absolutely not. this is a completely different and specific job.

"Nowhere, no how does this policy come close to following any osha or MIOSHA standards."

The firefighters' union filed a complaint with MIOSHA and that agency confirms it's looking into the grievance and it may not be too long before we hear from them on this new policy and if an investigation is warranted.