The Washington Post recently reported that the Washington DC City Council approved legislation Tuesday that allows private ambulance providers to handle low-priority 911 calls. The legislation has a one-year expiration date, but could be extended based on the performance and cost to the city.
Washington D.C.’s response time issues were highlighted most recently when two infants were transported via fire engine because ambulances were not available. One of the infants did not survive. Other notable Washington DC response time issues include a stabbing victim waiting 43 minutes for an ambulance, a woman waited 30 minutes after the ambulance she was in broke down,
Response is just one issue that Washington DC’s FEMS has had to deal with in recent years. Other issues have included neglection of duty, sleeping while on duty, and adding law enforcement to their duties. Considering all those other issues, solving response time should be easy.
This type of outsourcing is not a new idea, a system already being used by Seattle where DC FEMS Chief Gregory Dean was previously, and possibly one that New York City’s Mayor Bill DeBlasio should start looking at if he’s going to make those promises a reality.