D.C. Fire Chief Proposes another Controversial Ambulance Plan - News - @ JEMS.com


D.C. Fire Chief Proposes another Controversial Ambulance Plan

Plan takes firefighters off of engine and ladder truck to staff additional ambulances

 

 
 
 

PAUL WAGNER, MyFoxDC | | Friday, April 11, 2014


VIDEOS

Multimedia Thumb

D.C. Fire Chief Proposes another Controversial Ambulance Plan

Staffing change will leave immediate neighborhood without fire apparatus.
more >





WASHINGTON (MyFoxDC) - D.C. Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe has come up with a new ambulance redeployment plan. It is now under review by the D.C. council, which has scheduled a public hearing for Friday.

The last proposal was so controversial, every lawmaker voted against it.

The new strategy may create just as much fuss with plans to take the firefighting equipment away from neighborhoods that are growing by the day.

Chief Ellerbe will be the first to tell you the job of firefighter has changed considerably in the last several years. There are far fewer fires and so many more calls for EMS. In fact, the chief says 80 percent of the calls for service are now for emergency medical services.

In order to handle that, the chief says he has come up with a new strategy that will add ambulances in the city, but leave the Shaw and Mount Vernon Square communities without a truck and engine.

The first thing you need to know about this proposal is that there are no plans to close the firehouse on New Jersey Avenue.

The chief says it will still be staffed around the clock, but the engine and ladder truck and the firefighters who staff them will no longer be stationed there.

"We know that we need more EMS coverage in the city and that's an area that we feel has a centrally located station that allows us to deliver much better EMS care throughout the city,” said Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe in an interview Thursday. “Now we still have to talk to the neighborhood about that.”

Instead of the ladder and engine, the chief’s strategy would be to staff several ambulances and medics in the same firehouse.

It is a plan the chief says makes some sense.

"That facility is close to New Jersey Avenue, Florida Avenue, the freeway so we can provide resources to Northeast, Southeast, Southwest and parts of Northwest from that fire station," Ellerbe said.

But as you can imagine, losing a ladder truck and engine has the community concerned.

Rachelle Nigro is the local ANC commissioner.

"I need to know the parameters,” she said. “In terms of the boundaries and the existing firehouses that will serve the community, the timing of when a call happens, when will they get there, I think that's important.”

Commissioner Nigro says in the last day or so, many of her constituents said they wanted the ladder and engine to stay.

As for the firefighters union, President Ed Smith says they intend to fight it.

"Yes, absolutely,” Smith said. “I mean, literally when I say seconds count, seconds count. We are in the business of saving lives and this is important. It’s important for the neighborhood. It’s important for the firefighters assigned to that house. We are going to stand up.”

Just over a year and a half ago, Smith says that same ladder truck was used to rescue residents of a nearby apartment complex. It was a fire so intense, it burned the top of the ladder.

In the chief’s last proposal -- the one voted down unanimously by the council -- all of the medic units would have been taken off the street after midnight.

The new plan would add ambulance resources and keep them staffed around the clock.

Mobile Category: 
News




D.C. Fire Chief Proposes another Controversial Ambulance Plan


Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: News, DCFD, DCFEMS, staffing

 
What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS

Get JEMS in Your Inbox

 

Fire EMS Blogs


Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

 

EMS Airway Clinic

Innovation & Advancement

This is the seventh year of the EMS 10 Innovators in EMS program, jointly sponsored by Physio-Control and JEMS.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Press Conference, East Village Explosion and Collapse

Fire is contained to four buildings; 12 people have been injured.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

D.C. Mayor Adds Ambulances to Peak Demand Period

10 additional ambulances will be on the streets from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Utah Commission Privatizes Ambulance Service

Mayors in Iron County loose management fight.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Ambulance Delay Raises Concerns over Response Times

Officers give up after waiting 20 minutes for an ambulance.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Patient Carry during Snowstorm

Firefighters, medics and officers lend a hand in Halifax.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Terror Attack in Tunisia

19 people killed outside of a museum.
More >