Reduced budgets wreak havoc on DC Fire & EMS system

Reduced budgets are wreaking havoc on the DC public safety system. The nation's capital is under scrutiny after the International Association of Firefighters rated the city as "one of the worst EMS systems in the country when compared to other major metropolitan areas," reported The Associated Press. This reputation has been earned because of the acute shortage of ambulances, inadequate training and poor public safety strategies deployed by the metro.

The news source reported that the EMS department has lost more than 40 paramedics since 2011, and only two have been hired to replace those who have left. The department has not increased the number of ambulances within the metro in four years, while the population has continued to increase at a rate of 1,000 people a month. The ambulances the city does have break down with such frequency that D.C. has had to hire private ambulance companies to staff events at sporting venues. 

Unlike other cities that have firefighters who are trained EMS workers, D.C. has not completely rolled out this plan, which means the public safety workers who are employed in the metro are less effective. 

"A shortage of ambulances, inadequate training and a poor strategy make the district one of the worst EMS systems in the country when compared to other major metropolitan areas," said Lori Moore-Merrell, assistant to the general president of the International Association of Firefighters, according to the news source. 

For departments struggling to afford training, and ambulances breaking down, the Acadis Readiness Suite can better ensure first responders receive the training that will boost performance and ensure vehicles are properly certified. When budgets are tight, multi-disciplinary training like certifying firefighters as paramedics, can improve public safety. However, this requires effective compliance and training tracking to minimize liability risk. Departments must determine who is currently certified for a task and whether everyone in the department has received training at the prevailing standard.

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