EXCLUSIVES
FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle+RSS Feed
Fire EMSEMS TodayEMS Insider

D.C. Fire Chief Proposes another Controversial Ambulance Plan

WTTGAmbRedplyvidimage

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.



RELATED ARTICLES

Wisconsin City Council Turns Over EMS to Hospital

Vote in Platteville transfers control of EMS to Southwest health Center.

21 People Rescued From Drifting Houseboat in Texas

Austin-Travis County EMS said none of the occupants were injured.

Austin-Travis County EMS Honored with Mission: Lifeline Gold Award

AHA award recognizes successful implementation of quality improvement measures.

Construction Worker injured in fall at Maine Water Treatment Plant

Firefighters had to cut through reinforcing bar to access the patient.

Wisconsin Council Votes on Ambulance Service Change

Vote could move responsibility of EMS delivery to area hospital.

Ohio Law Would Allow EMTs to Treat Injured Animals

Proposed bill would not allow people to call 911 for pets.

Features by Topic

Featured Careers

 

JEMS TV

FEATURED VIDEO TOPICS

Learn about new products and innovations featured at EMS Today 2015

 

JEMS Connect

CURRENT DISCUSSIONS

 
 

EMS BLOGS

Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts