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Home > Topics > EMS Management

DC fire chief plans removal of ALS transport

Some worry that the new plan will leave calls during the off hours unanswered

Editor's note: Check out Art Hsieh's take on this story in "C'mon DC: Can't you do better for your community?"

My FOX 5

WASHINGTON — Washington D.C.'S fire chief Kenneth Ellerbe will announce a plan to move paramedics off overnight hours to cover busier times of the day.

Some are worried there won't be enough help if a life is on the line.

FOX 5's Sherri Ly spoke with the chief who disputes the claims by the fire fighters union that this plan will reduce their ability to respond to calls by 36-percent.

"I don't know if that data is correct first of all," stated Ellerbe. "What I will say is that we will have an ambulance that can respond. We have twenty-one paramedic engine companies and seven EMS supervisors, who are also paramedics, who will be able to assist that ambulance to provide emergency or advanced life support care."

Ellerbe says the plan is not complete yet and that it still needs to be discussed with the city council and stakeholders.

"This gives us an opportunity to look at a decades old system and respond more readily to our community. We've looked at the data for over a year and the data indicates that we don't have as many calls from 1:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m. as we do from 7 o'clock during the day."

"So we're trying to adjust our schedule, adjust our service and remodel to make sure we can meet the demand of the community," Ellerbe continued.

Republished with permission from My FOX 5

The comments below are member-generated and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of or its staff. If you cannot see comments, try disabling privacy and ad blocking plugins in your browser. All comments must comply with our Member Commenting Policy.
David Shrader David Shrader Tuesday, November 13, 2012 6:25:18 PM All I can say is FALSE ECONOMY!
Bradley Anderson Bradley Anderson Tuesday, November 13, 2012 7:35:55 PM people get sick at 3am.
Don Lyng Don Lyng Tuesday, November 13, 2012 8:42:46 PM How about cutting the crap with Fire and EMS being the SAME Department? A Heavy Rescue doesn't need to arrive on a chest pain call because ONE guy on the truck is a Paramedic. How about hiring more BLS providers to free up the ALS crews from running the calls that they don't need to be on? How about supervisors who are BLS instead of ALS Paramedics? Why not both? Don't get me wrong. I understand it to a point but that is about it. Fire/EMS seemed logical......about as logical as a cop being a firefighter too but I digress. Every city that has merged the two seems to have nothing but huge problems on their hands. Shortages of personell, hours they can't cover, overtime problems, equipment problems and the list goes on and on. The pay is borderline crap for EMS (which is funny when you look at call out numbers for EMS against Fires numbers but hey who looks at those when pay is concerned). Alot of people use EMS as a stepping stone to join fire as a back door to the hiring process (see FDNY). Change the hiring process. Add more BLS to free up Paramedics to do REAL ALS runs. Pay better. Have actual EMS Chiefs and Supervisors from BLS and ALS. Get AWAY from Fire and have YOUR OWN budget (because we all know Fire gets the lions share when it comes to money).

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