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Fire/EMS seeks paramedics

(Published December 17, 2001)

The District’s Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department is looking for qualified people to fill 55 vacancies for paramedics.

The department has been recruiting for the positions since funding became available last May, according to a press release issued by the department on Dec. 11. However, officials could not explain, when asked, where they have been advertising the available positions.

"Our [ambulance] response times are improving, but we cannot achieve our goals without the proper staffing levels," said Marcus Anderson, assistant deputy chief of the Emergency Medical Services Bureau.

A Nov. 20 report issued by Chief Few’s office, citing achievements during the chief’s first year on the job, said ambulance response time to "critical care 911 calls for Advanced Life Support units" has been reduced so that "60 percent of calls [are] now responded to within seven minutes."

The report did not mention how long it takes ambulances to respond to the other 40 percent of 911 calls, nor does it state an average response time for all ambulance calls in the city.

Money to hire the 55 new paramedics was earmarked from the fiscal 2001 budget as a result of D.C. General Hospital being closed, according to the department’s press release.

During community forums prior to the closing of D.C. General, several community members and city officials complained about ambulance response times being as long as 20 minutes or more in some parts of town. Residents of several Upper Northwest neighborhoods have long had the option of calling the Chevy Chase-Bethesda Rescue Squad, rather than D.C. Fire/EMS, when they need an ambulance.

Information about the duties of Fire/EMS paramedics is available on the department’s Web site at www.fems.dc.gov. Individuals interested in applying for the positions may contact the D.C. Office of Personnel on the fourth floor of Reeves Center at 2000 14th St. NW or call (202) 671-1317. Information also is available on the Web at www.dcop.dcgov.org.

Copyright 2001, The Common Denominator