• Abuse Of DC 911 System Is Wreaking Havoc On Already Thin Emergency Services

    Call volume for emergency services in Washington, D.C., has set record highs over the last three months, and last week a baby died in part due to the lack of available ambulances.

    A 5-month-old boy with asthma was put on a fire truck and rushed to a nearby children’s hospital Friday because the nearest ambulance was seven miles across town, NBC Washington reports.

    The call came in to 911 at around 3 p.m. for a child experiencing a medical emergency and the fire truck was immediately dispatched to his location. The ambulance, however, didn’t meet up with the child and the fire truck until they were already at the hospital.

    The problem stems from the city’s aging and perpetually broken fleet of ambulances and fire trucks.

    At a recent city council hearing, Interim FEMS Chief Edward Mills testified that of the 98 ambulances currently owned by the city, just 49 are in service and many of those are in a “state of disrepair.”

    Since the beginning of the year, there have been roughly 93,000 emergency calls handled by D.C. Fire and Emergency Services, FOX 5 reports. Of those calls, just less than 1,300 were of the most serious nature, and around 36,000 were of a moderately serious nature.

    The remaining 56,000 calls, where EMS care is not urgently needed, made up the majority of work done by the city’s emergency services. They are causing a drain on the system and taking resources away from where they are needed.

    “All over the country, in urban communities, this has been an issue,” D.C. City Administrator Rashad Young told FOX 5. “The use of 911, the abuse in some respects of the 911 system that is really draining resources on the community, and so the education component is important.”

    In 2016, the city is set to add 46 new ambulances to its fleet, nearly doubling the available vehicles, WTOP reports.

    In addition to the lack of ambulances, the city’s fire trucks are also in need of serious repair. Just 29 of the city’s 63 pump trucks are certified for use and only 11 of the city’s 26 ladder trucks are certified.

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