DC Fire Response Times Improving, Fall Short for Critical Care

Nearly one year into the District’s use of a private ambulance service to improve 911 response times and the fire chief is acknowledging the department is "struggling" with the availability of advance life support medic units.

Those are the ambulances staffed by paramedics who are supposed to respond to the most critical emergency calls like cardiac arrest.

In a message sent to fire fighters and obtained by News 4’s Mark Segraves, Chief Gregory Dean said response times for the advance life support units have not improved despite the addition of the private ambulance service.

Doug Buchanan, the chief of communications for DC Fire & EMS, issued a statement late Tuesday evening:

“The bottom line is that we are responding faster to 911 calls. Our first responder response times have improved and our overall ambulance response times have improved. We are taking action to improve our first arriving paramedic times by aggressively hiring paramedics and adding three medic units.”

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser is scheduled to hold a press conference with Dean Wednesday to tout the department’s improvements over the past year and to announce changes in the way the district bills insurance companies for ambulance services.

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