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Mayor Gray and Chief Ellerbe Announce FEMS Hires and Display the District’s Newest Ambulances

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Mayor Gray and Chief Ellerbe Announce FEMS Hires and Display the District’s Newest Ambulances

More Paramedics, Firefighters and Emergency Vehicles Are on the Way

(Washington, DC) The first two of 30 new ambulances scheduled to be delivered by the end of this year have arrived and already have been put in service, Mayor Vincent C. Gray and DC Fire & Emergency Medical Services (FEMS) Chief Kenneth Ellerbe announced today.

Additionally, 60 firefighter recruits/cadets are in training and will hit DC streets by the end of the year, and nine paramedics were hired last week to eventually begin working on the ambulances that are being delivered, Mayor Gray said.

“One of the goals of my One City Action Plan is improving the quality of life for all District residents by ensuring every neighborhood is safe. Funding for new FEMS equipment is only part of that commitment,” Mayor Gray said. “We also made the commitment to focus on improving workforce development and employment opportunities for District residents who wanted to join FEMS.”

Within the past decade, FEMS has focused on providing quality care to District residents and visitors who require urgent medical attention. A year ago, the Gray Administration and FEMS leadership began taking necessary steps to ensure that the city’s ambulance fleet becomes more reliable and that more paramedics are staffing these units to provide emergency medical care.

Since October 2011, more than 60 young people who graduated from DC high schools have joined FEMS through the cadet program. Nearly half of them are serving as active firefighters, while the others are expected to join their colleagues in November. Today, Mayor Gray announced the city’s third class of recent high school graduates who will begin their FEMS training in October.

“Today marks a turning point for the department,” Chief Ellerbe said. “FEMS has long been due for major investments to update and upgrade our equipment fleet, and I’m proud that the Mayor’s Fiscal Year 2013 and 2014 budgets are enabling those improvements to happen now.”

Weekly deliveries of new ambulances to augment the FEMS fleet are expected through the end of September. In October, Horton Emergency Vehicles will be providing another 17 new ambulances through Fesco Sales, Horton’s local distributor. By the end of December, FEMS will have received 30 new ambulances to respond to emergency medical calls.

FEMS will have $24 million in capital funds to purchase new ambulances, fire engines and other apparatus from FY 2014 through FY2016.

Two District residents who participated in a Department of Employment Services EMT training program have joined the current cadets in their firefighting training. The recruit class also includes 17 returning military veterans who will soon protect and serve the city as firefighters.

“I’m extremely proud that the District government is able to provide them an opportunity to continue their service,” Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice Paul Quander said.