C'mon DC: Can't you do better for your community?

Redeploying ambulances is but a small token gesture

Editor's note: Art Hsieh takes a look at DC's plan to alter paramedic staffing levels

The issues plaguing DC Fire-Rescue are not new. I remember back in the early 2000s the difficulty they faced in recruiting and retaining qualified EMS providers to its ranks.

The department has had many grand plans since then to revise and transform the EMS system of the Nation's capital.

Instead it continues to be plagued by system failures, some which have been spectacular (recall David Rosenbaum anyone?). Band-aid fixes are not going to serve the DC citizenry very well.

Let's not point fingers here. Agreed, it's the simplest thing to do — shift blame to another party. But it won't fix anything.

What will is a major, dispassionate, top to bottom look at the system, from its funding source, to its administration, to the line workers, and ultimately the mission of the department.

I do agree with the Chief — it's time for change. Certainly the previous history of the department's inability to provide consistent quality service validates that.

Redeploying ambulances is but a small token gesture — it won't move enough ALS personnel to adequately staff the other shifts. And clearly, without a major change in hiring practices, this too is doomed to fail.

Old cities, old government infrastructure, old mindsets — c'mon DC and Detroit. Can't you do better for your community?

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