Blaze of glory: FDNY ambulance crews battle it out in EMS competition

The Brooklyn Paper
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They’re the best of New York’s Best.

The top Fire Department ambulance crews from around the city pitted their life-saving skills against each other at the 15th Annual Emergency Medical Technicians Competition at Downtown’s Metrotech Commons on Thursday. The competitors only rescued mock victims from simulated scenarios, but the tournament could very well save real lives one day, said one contender.

“It makes you better in real-time situations,” said emergency medical technician Capt. Marcus Brandon, whose Bronx squad won the basic life support contest. “If we are faced with something like this in real life, we will not be afraid to get in there and get our hands dirty.”

The teams of emergency medical technicians and paramedics were presented with a scenario where the dance floor at a nightclub had collapsed, trapping revelers inside as carbon monoxide poured into the building. The department pumped smoke into the air while the contestants worked to rescue glassy-eyed dummies and a few live volunteers from the disco inferno, scoring points for how well they handled the situation and executed medical techniques.

Brooklyn crews had the home-field advantage, but teams from the Bronx ultimately won first-place trophies and bragging rights in both the basic life support and advanced life support divisions. Kings County didn’t go home entirely empty-handed, though — an outfit of emergency medical technicians from Fort Greene’s Station 31 scored third place in the former category.

The public event drew a large crowd of Metrotech office workers who spent their lunch hours watching the hot competition and taking a look inside Fire Department ambulances. Technicians also offered cardiopulmonary resuscitation classes to the onlookers, who learned how to perform chest compressions to the beat of the Bee Gees’ “Stayin’ Alive” — a strategy that really lives up to its name, an instructor said.

“In the first few minutes, the public can make a difference, so they should know how to do this,” said Dave Weissman, an emergency medical technician from Queens.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her at
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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