D.C. Medic Unit Operates for Months with Known Brake Problem

Local news investigation calls attention to persistent problem

 

 
 
 

JAY KORFF, WJLA | | Thursday, August 29, 2013


WASHINGTON (WJLA) - When D.C. ambulances like Medic 31 respond to an emergency, a sense of urgency can make all the difference.

However, when one of the city's ambulances has a significant mechanical flaw that has gone unfixed for weeks, it can put patience and first responders in further danger.

Documents obtained by ABC7 reveal that crew members have been documenting for months now an air hose leak that affects the brakes in the city's Medic 31 unit, but the problem still hasn’t been fixed.

According to three inspection reports from Aug. 4, 11 and this week, crew members noted with an “X” that the ambulance had the specified leak.

Ken Lyons, the head of the Civilian Paramedics Union, works out of Medic 31. He says that this particular problem can actually delay the ambulance from leaving the station for up to two minutes since it takes time for the air pressure to build up.

Others say the delay is closer to three to five minutes.

In a log book entry from the week of July 22, a crew member wrote that “M-31 told from platoon that air hose has leak." An entry from the week of Aug. 4 had a similar notation.

The final entry stated that "M-31 air break takes some time to release causing us to delay response. Notified house officer about this problem."

Lyons says that the unit recently went in for repairs, but when it returned, the leak still hadn’t been fixed.

For months, district residents have been witness to evidence of an ambulance fleet in disrepair, from units catching fire to having no air conditioning to a unit in the presidential motorcade running out of gas.

"We've known we've had problems," D.C. Fire Chief Ken Ellerbe said. "The fleet has been challenged. We've had some very old equipment and we're about to replace it."

On Tuesday, Ellerbe and Mayor Vincent Gray announced that the city had hired 60 new fire cadets and nine paramedics to alleviate staffing shortages. The city is also adding 30 new ambulances to its fleet.

The announcement came on the heels of the International Association of Firefighters, one of the nation's most prominent fire unions, accused Ellerbe's agency as being one of the worst in the nation.

Mobile Category: 
News



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

 
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 & Progress

Follow in the footsteps of these inspirational leaders of EMS.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Tennessee County EMS Shows Off CPR Tool

Lucas 2 in service in Bradley County.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Abilene Loses Helicopter Service

Native Air leaves city with only one air helicopter service.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

D.C. Fire Chief Proposes another Controversial Ambulance Plan

Staffing change will leave immediate neighborhood without fire apparatus.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

FDIC 2014 CHAT: MIKE MCEVOY AND A.J. HEIGHTMAN

Mike McEvoy and A.J. Heightman discuss some new EMS technology at FDIC 2014.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

LMA MAD Nasal™

Needle-free intranasal drug delivery.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

VividTrac offered by Vivid Medical - EMS Today 2013

VividTrac, affordable high performance video intubation device.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Braun Ambulances' EZ Door Forward

Helps to create a safer ambulance module.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

The AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher Conversion Kit - EMS Today 2013

AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher all-hazards preparedness & response tool
Watch It >


More Product Videos >