WASHINGTON (AP) — Nine new paramedics and 30 new ambulances will soon be on the streets in the District of Columbia, but the new hires and purchases won’t lead to any changes in a staffing and deployment strategy that critics have called inadequate for the nation’s capital.
Mayor Vincent Gray and Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe announced the hires and purchases at a news conference Tuesday. In addition to the paramedics, the department will bring on 60 new firefighters by year’s end from its recruit and cadet programs. Seventeen of the recruits are military veterans.
Ellerbe says the department has “turned the corner.”
The department has 35 paramedics working at any given time, 14 on ambulances. The new hires won’t change those numbers, but union leaders say ambulances will be downgraded less often.