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‘Teflon probie’ is no more. New firefighter again fails running test & heads back to EMS

NY FDNY teflon probie quits

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Previous coverage of this story

According to the New York Post, the woman the tabloid dubbed the "Teflon probie" failed on her sixth try to run 1.5 miles in less than 12 minutes. Thirty-one year-old Wendy Tapia officially resigned on Thursday and according to an FDNY spokesman, will be heading back at her old job in EMS.

Susan Edelman, New York Post:

Tapia was one of five women among 285 new firefighters who graduated from the FDNY’s Randall’s Island training academy on May 17. The class of EMTs and paramedics was hailed as one of the most diverse ever.

She was assigned to Engine No. 316 in East Elmhurst, Queens, but never worked a shift. After recovering from a foot injury, she went on light duty and continued training for the run. She failed it five times, last on Halloween, clocking 12 minutes 23 seconds.

Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano, at the behest of United Women Firefighters, a group of active and retired FDNY women, gave Tapia another chance to pass the test on Dec. 2. But on the heels of a Post article on her special treatment, Tapia tried again early, and then threw in the towel.

Comments - Add Yours

  • Anonymous

    While I do not reslish anyone's failure, systems based on the equal application of standards regardless of a person's identity are fundamental to maintaining morale and trust.  This is even more critical in the fire service or other professions where we trust our lives to our brothers and sisters.  I have very little patience of any group that claims to be in favor of equality, yet then espouses a double standard when it suits them.  The United Women Firefighters did their membership a great disservice by requesting special treatment.  I know and gladly serve with many female firefighters, all of whom passed the same test I did and train to the same standards.

    • Dave C

      Well said, I couldnt agree with you any more. I would like to see anybody raise a valid argument against it.

    • Anonymous

      I absolutely agree with everything you said, especially the part of gladly serving with the female members on our department who do the same training I did.  Together we are all a stronger and better team.

    • Anonymous

      As a retired LT with 30 yrs I could not agree with you more , Well said 

    • RJ in florda

      well said sir….new york went through this with darrel strawberry some years ago and probbly learned from it but you are right

  • Shame in Rochester

    The FDNY and its citizens just got safer.

  • Volunteer for life

    May be DC chief can put her in charge of it's fleet lol.

  • Paul

    Who wants an injured EMS worker trying to move the bed to the ambulance?

    Oops, sorry. I slipped. Can hardly walk.

  • SCFFEMT-P

    Being well over 350 lbs in full gear, I know there are not many men that will be able to help me by themselves. And yes, I can still hike up 15-20 stories with all my gear plus tools without stopping and am able to immediately go to work . This is because my department stresses physical fitness and places a priority on endurance/CV workouts on-duty. With that being said, any deviaton from professional physical standards should not be compromised. Crew safety is not only when things go bad but starts before you ever go to work. Having a higher level of functional fitness allows people to perform the job both mentally and physically when under the stress of an incident. If you are totally gassed just getting the lines or any other equipment required to do the job into place, how can anyone think that they can physically finish the task safely and effectively?. Running a mile and a half under 12 minutes is a good standard. However, what is being done to insure this level for the years after graduation? The crew is only as good as the weakest member in both a physical and mental sense of the word. It does not matter if you have 15 months or 15 years on the job.

  • Pumper trash

    With the way the fire service is headed nationally, any fitness standards for new hires is a victory. We do need career long standards, but that'll be one heck of an up hill fight.

  • Jim O’Neill

    She missed the mark by 23 seconds…. give me a break. This is not the military where you have to run a mile or more. It's the fire service. Where does a FF need to run a mile?  ANd you know as well as I, when the flames are licking at your ass you tend to move much faster than you normally can. Years ago a dept. I took the exam for  initiated a swimming requirement which excluded me because I could not swim. Several years later it was dropped, but not in time for me. I can see certain requiremements but some departments go to extremes. I think that there was a vendetta or some other reason that this young lady was singled out. Just my opinion…………..

  • David Bond

    I have been in the fire service for over 30 years. I started as a tail board firefighter and worked my way up to Battalion Chief. It has been my experience that although there are and have been, in and during my career, some very tuff and great female firefigfters, they should nott be held to ANY lesser standard than their male co-workers. We depend on them just like we do other male firefighters in times that other occupations scarcely experience. if you cant take the heat get your ass out of the kitchen!!! That goes for male and females alike!

  • Unreal

    I'm not defending her, but this run is obviously a FDNY requirement not at NYS requirement. So my question is did she pass the CPAT? I am assuming yes  since they let he graduate, so why do they do this 1.5 mile run? How my line guys can't pass it if they had to after graduation?

  • Dickey

    I agree. Doesn't matter male or female. A standard is a standard which should be the same for both. Can't make it, then you are not cut out for it, sorry. There should be no special treatment for gender, race, color creed or sexual orientation.

  • Brent Hlegeson

     I was glad to see that they didn't throw her to the wolves when she was injured, and let her try  multple times to meet the standard  but the article said  "she tried and threw in the towel" it never said they kicked her to the curb. Get over it she is still employed and she can try again if she wants too in he next batch of  FF if she will meet the standard.

  • Anonymous

    Agreed!  I know many female firefighters, all of whom were able to make the minimums….They are amazing firefighters and deserve the recognition.  But in this woman's case, she gives female firefighters a bad name.

  • ffp20

    Re: unreal, in NYS cpat is not required in cities over one million in population.

  • bob johnson

    Chad (and you too if the cap fits), the fire-fighter was dealing with an injury and unreasonable pressure to perform. I don't know anything of you, but on the reading here,  you are a smug, self absorbed and intolerant misogynist. If you have any real credentials for this opinion let's hear them.

  • UseToBeDC

    Dave here is a follow up to this story

    There was also an editorial in the Post, a similar story in the Daily Neews and an interview on the local fox morning show

    http://nypost.com/2014/03/06/fdny-rooted-out-whistleblower-using-nsa-like-tactics/

  • UseToBeDC