WASHINGTON, N.C. (WNCT) — Nearly 100 first responders and other protesters showed up at Monday’s Beaufort County Commissioners meeting after a commissioner called firemen who provide on-scene medical services “bubbas.”
The controversial comments were made by Beaufort County Commissioner Hood Richardson during January’s meeting.
Back in January, Richardson referred to firemen providing medical services as “bubbas,” which he used to describe an uneducated population rendering services they weren’t qualified to do.
“We feel like we may have been stereotyped and I think it is a derogatory term,” said Capt. Ray Harris of the Bunyon Fire Department.
During the meeting on Monday, many people had on name tags that they had written “Bubba” as their name.
Richardson said on Monday that “bubba” could be a term of endearment like “brother.”
“What I was concerned about was the training that people had in order to be able to provide these medical services,” Richardson said.
One of the services he was concerned about was a service called “Pit Crew CPR,” which essentially brings in the closest first responders to work as a team to perform CPR on a victim.
Instead of transporting a cardiac patient right away when arriving at the scene, crews now call on other paramedics and fire departments to help perform CPR. Sometimes, they perform CPR for an hour, rotating every two minutes to ensure it is effective.
Chocowinity EMS said before using the new form of CPR, survival rates were around 3 percent. Now since starting Pit Crew CPR back in January, rates have now climbed to more than 60 percent.
During Monday’s meeting, Ray Harris, Captain of the Bunyan Fire Department, addressed commissioners in an effort to better inform them and the public.
“All of the fire departments in Beaufort County have been trained in team CPR concepts, and are now beginning to be trained as medical responders,” Harris said.
He said his comments weren’t intended to directly respond to Richardson’s “bubbas” remark, but rather to inform the public that firemen do much more than just put out fires.
During the public comment section, people on both sides weighed in on the issue.
Some said they support Richardson and know he has the utmost respect for first responders, while others said everyone in the county should be offended.
This year is an election year for Richardson, who said he thought this, along with other issues, will awaken his supporters.