Majority of D.C. Ambulances Out of Service in July

Summer temperatures blamed for nearly three-fourths of ambulances out for repairs


META PETTUS, WUSA9 | | Thursday, August 8, 2013

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) - DC Fire spokesman Tim Wilson confirms that nearly three-fourths of the department's ambulance fleet were not in service in order undergo repairs last month. Wilson says new data showed the soaring temperatures caused problems for the ambulances' air conditioning systems.

The data showed that from July 19 to July 26, 67 ambulances required mechanical service while 22 of those ambulances were serviced more than two times. Wilson says most ambulances were repaired and put back on the streets within hours.

According to Wilson, 39 ambulances should be available at all times. Wilson tells us that the department maintains 94 ambulances, but notes that not all of them are functional.

More than a dozen ambulances were not in service on Wednesday, according to Wilson. Wilson says the department has had to run available ambulances constantly, which puts a strain on those ambulances during heat waves.

Wilson says the department has spent more than $50,000 outsourcing emergency medical services coverage for some special events, such as Washington Nationals baseball games and events at Verizon Center. Wilson told us that four ambulances and staffing at Nationals Park costs $4,100 per game while one ambulance and staffing at the Verizon Center costs $900 per event.

Wilson says officials have not determined how long the outsourcing will continue yet.

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