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Accusations of faulty equipment at Navy Yard

10:11 PM, Sep 19, 2013   |    comments
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WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- We've got more details after explosive accusations suggest lives could have been spared at the Navy Yard shooting if the first rescuers inside were able to communicate.

We are specifically referring to the U.S. Naval District of Washington Fire and EMS Department and reports that their emergency radios failed them during the Navy Yard shooting incident.

"I would say there is a great likelihood that more lives could have been saved ," said Gregory Russell with the National Capital Federal Firefighters. He is the president of the National Capital Federal Firefighters Union. He is also a fire inspector with the U.S. Naval District of Washington Fire, and EMS Department. That's the same department responsible for fire and EMS services at the Navy Yard.

"They were there almost instantly after the call was put out."

And just as fast he says, the troubles in communication among Navy firefighters began. He says the radio's provided to them by the navy failed.

"Immediately upon their arrival they were experiencing radio problems. they were not receiveing and not able to transmit messages to other emergency responders"

He tells us a batallion chief who was the first inside building 197 was trying to report details from inside the shooting scene and set up triage, but couldn't. 

"This required the use of a runner. We had to assign a fire captain as a chiefs aide...he would have to go all the way outside of the building to transmit."

The president of this union says he is so fed up with the problem that he is drafting a letter calling for the resignation of all those who had anything to do with the purchase and deployment of these radios.

We asked the union president if there were documents reporting the radio failures. He was able to provide reports from 2010,  2012,  and one report from january 2013.

"These poorly functioning radios contributed to the chaos," he said.

WUSA9  reached out to the Regional Fire Chief C.P. Miedzinski by phone. He refused to comment on the matter saying they would e-mail statement to us, but we never receievd that. 

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