WASHINGTON (WUSA) -- D.C. Fire Chief Ken Ellerbe made news Monday when he disclosed plans to shuffle its resources, meaning fewer ambulances will be in service overnight. The issue isn't just on land but on the water as well. The DC Fire Department's boat rescue fleet isn't what it used to be.
The John Glenn, the D.C. Fire Department's main boat for large scale emergencies, is in desperate need of repairs. The 50-year-old rescue boat is still used to patrol. Given all of the potential threats to homeland security, there are questions about how effective this boat could be. That's because it's out there on the water, but the boats communications system is broken. The radio can't transmit a distress call and the documentation has expired.
So the question now is whether to apply for grants to repair the boat, estimated to be around $700,000. The other option is lobby Capitol Hill for money to buy a new state of the art boat.
As we mentioned earlier, there is also discussion about cutting down the number of medics working overnight that would be during this time of day. There are a lot of questions about this move: Will there is longer wait times? Will you have access to the same critical equipment if this move goes through?
Medic units have paramedics in them. Paramedics have a higher level of training than EMT's. Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe wants to move 14 advanced life support ambulances from the overnight hours and have that personnel work during the day.
Now when we say overnight hours we are talking about 1 a.m. until 7a.m. The rationale behind this is that there are twice as many calls an hour during the day as opposed to overnight. But the Chief says residents shouldn't be worried about it having an impact on safety.
"You will have access to top-of-the-line equipment and there is no anticipation that there will be extended wait times. We expect it to be the same. We know we have about 10 calls per hour at that time," said Ellerbe.