Archive | May, 2013

Ambulance breaks down transporting wounded carjacking suspect

Posted on 30 May 2013 by wyoskibum

WASHINGTON, D.C. – An ambulance carrying a carjacking suspect, who was shot by D.C. police, broke down on the way to the hospital Wednesday afternoon.

The suspect, 24-year-old Nathaniel McRae of Northwest D.C., was pronounced dead at the hospital after he was moved to a second ambulance.

The man was shot by police, who had been pursuing him, when he got out of the stolen vehicle along Barnaby Street SE. An officer was injured during the incident.

Police have not released the names of the police officers.

McRae was transported by D.C. Fire and EMS from the 800 block of Barnaby Street SE after the 2:20 p.m. officer-involved shooting. While driving to the hospital, the ambulance’s engine light came on, indicating the vehicle had to be shut down, said Fire and EMS spokesman Tim Wilson.

The ambulance broke down on D.C. 295, Wilson said.

“Within minutes another unit was available to take the patient to an area hospital,” Wilson said.

McRae was moved to another ambulance and taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead. Wilson did not know how long it took for the second ambulance to arrive or the total time it took to transport the patient.

It was unclear Wednesday evening whether the delay contributed to the man’s death. Police had said the man was suffering from life-threatening injuries when he left Barnaby Street.

Police were pursuing the stolen car when the man got out of the car on Barnaby Street.

Earlier in the day, there were conflicting reports about whether the suspect fired a weapon at officers, but a news release from Metropolitan Police Department Wednesday night explained that he had.

Officers began pursuing the suspect after responding to a carjacking. According to the news release, McRae stopped the vehicle at the 900 block of Barnaby Street SE and fired at the officers.

When another officer arrived, McRae fired shots at him as well.

When the suspect turned to fire more shots at the first officers, they fired their weapons and hit McRae.

An officer was injured in the incident but Commander Robin Hoey says he does not think the injured officer was hit by a bullet, but the cause remained unclear late Wednesday.

The officer was conscious and breathing when he was taken to the hospital.

This was the second of three officer-involved shootings in the region Wednesday.

Around 1 p.m., an off-duty officer was shot at in the 200 block of 33rd Street NE near Benning Road. Police believe he may have been trying to intervene in a robbery.

And about 3 p.m., a Loudoun County Sheriff’s deputy was wounded while responding to a disorderly conduct call at a Costco in Sterling. Another deputy shot and killed a woman who was a food sample server.



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Three-vehicle crash involving ambulance closes Route 54 at ‘Narrows’

Posted on 30 May 2013 by wyoskibum

RIVERSIDE, PA – A three-vehicle crash involving an AREA Ambulance and a car that landed on its roof in the middle of the highway shut down Route 54 in the “Narrows” just east of here Wednesday morning.

Borough police were among those responding to the crash, which occurred about 8 a.m. Traffic was backed up for miles toward Elysburg as emergency personnel worked to clear the scene.

In addition to the car that landed on its roof, a second vehicle had moderate damage to its rear end. The ambulance had what appeared to be minor damage to its front end.

It was not known if anyone was injured.

Further details will be reported as they become available.



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La Porte EMS captain accused of taking narcotic painkillers from ambulance

Posted on 30 May 2013 by wyoskibum

LA PORTE, TX (KTRK) – An EMS chief in Nassau Bay and captain in La Porte is accused of stealing narcotic painkillers from his own department.

La Porte EMS workers were inspecting ambulances in January when they noticed something wasn’t adding up. Sixty bottles of morphine and 163 packages of Fentanyl were allegedly gone.

According to court documents, staff immediately suspected Capt. Jason Peugeot.

“His role as the captain of the medical inventory was to order and resupply central supply,” La Porte EMS Chief Ray Nolan said.

Nolan tells us the investigation started in January. By February, Peugeot stopped showing up to work.

Peugeot, 36, was charged earlier this month with tampering with a government record, diversion of controlled substances for personal use and diversion of controlled substances for another person’s use. He was arrested and is out of jail on a $12,000 bond.

“The system worked. That’s how we discovered the diversion,” Nolan said. “I would like to make it foolproof where it couldn’t happen, but I don’t know if that’s ever really going to be possible.”

The La Porte chief says he has since added extra supervisors to the inventory process, but Peugeot also served as the EMS chief for Nassau Bay. Officials there say they have found discrepancies in their inventories and are currently investigating if Peugeot may have stolen medication there.

Just last week, there was a similar arrest in Katy. The fire chief there is accused of allegedly giving a distant relative Valium from a Katy ambulance.

“You want to have compassion for the employee for whatever reason, personally, that they felt like they needed to divert like that,” Nolan said. “But at the same time, we’re all held to a high level of professionalism.”



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Five hospitalized in Vancouver ambulance crash

Posted on 30 May 2013 by wyoskibum

VANCOUVER, BC – Five people were sent to hospital after a head-on collision between an ambulance and a passenger car in Vancouver Tuesday morning.

Vancouver fire Capt. Gabe Roder said the jaws of life were required to rescue three people from the passenger car, a Honda Civic. Two ambulance workers were also taken to hospital, police said.

The crash happened at approximately 8 a.m. at Main Street and Seventh Avenue in Vancouver.

Police Const. Brian Montague said the ambulance had its lights and sirens on, and was en route to a call with no patients inside.

None of the injuries are life-threatening, he said.

“Investigators will be speaking with witnesses, canvassing for video and taking measurements to try and determine speeds,” Montague said.



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Woman arrested for false EMS calls

Posted on 30 May 2013 by wyoskibum


Paramedics can be the difference in life or death situations, which they can’t do when people take advantage of the EMS service.

Doing just that landed a Dougherty County woman in jail. She called for ambulance just because she wanted a ride.

Any time an ambulance rolls out in Dougherty County it’s serious business – a call to which paramedics are committed. “We treat them all the same. We go out and check them out. If they need to go to the hospital, we take them to the hospital,” said Greg Rowe Dougherty Co. EMS Director.

The emergencies can vary from serious injury to general sickness, but there are a handful who abuse the service Monday night police say 27-year-old Ashley Nicole Jones called 911 requesting an ambulance. It turns out it was the 15th time since January she requested EMS services.

Dougherty County police questioned her and determined she only wanted the ambulance for a ride. It landed her in jail on charges of requesting EMS services when not needed.

Dougherty EMS director Greg Rowe says the types of calls aren’t frequent but with no choice but to respond, they’ve noticed caught on to how some are taking advantage of nothing more than a free ride.

“Before our guys leave the ER to get back on the street, the patient’s already left. That’s when we realize it might have been a 911 abuse case.”

Police say Jones, who’s made 10 calls to 911 this month alone has a history of being transported to the ER and then walking out of the hospital without seeing a doctor. Rowe says he will never discourage anyone from calling who needs help, but cautions abusing the service can be costly.

“It’s very costly. Financially it can be costly and once that’s trucks committed and something else happens in that territory, then another truck from further away has to come in.”

But just like Jones’ learned, an unnecessary request for a ride in an ambulance can easily turn into a free ride in the back of a police car. Rowe says Dougherty EMS handles about 22,000 calls a year. 99% are legitimate but can cost upwards of 100 just operate an ambulance call depending on how far out the caller is located.



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No injuries in Virginia Beach ambulance accident

Posted on 26 May 2013 by wyoskibum

No one was injured in a single-vehicle accident involving a Virginia Beach ambulance Thursday afternoon.

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA – Officers were on the scene of an accident at about 2 p.m. in the 4000 block of Elbow Road at the intersection of Walpole Street, where the ambulance was on its side in a ditch, according to an email from Virginia Beach Police spokeswoman Grazia Moyers.

The ambulance was responding to a call, but there were no patients inside, Moyers said. Those driving the ambulance did not report any injuries, and she did not know if the lights and sirens were on when the accident happened.



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Paramedic subject of investigation for missing medication

Posted on 26 May 2013 by wyoskibum

A former Union County paramedic is the subject of an investigation into missing medication at Union County EMS.

Channel 9 confirmed Thursday the SBI and the North Carolina Board of Pharmacy are investigating the incidents involving Joey Dahl.

Officials with Carolinas Healthcare System said Dahl was employed at Union County EMS from September 2004 to May 2 of this year, but would not say if he resigned or was fired.

Authorities said they were investigating Dahl in reference to a rash of drugs stolen from ambulances.

Multiple sources told Eyewitness News Dahl was suspected of stealing morphine from drug boxes in the ambulances and replacing it with saline.

One pharmacist told Channel 9 that unknowingly injecting patients in an ambulance with saline could be dangerous.

“The danger is not in what they’re getting but in what they’re not getting,” said Monroe pharmacist Alan Kennedy.

Kennedy said morphine acts as a relaxing agent during trauma and if patients didn’t receive it, it could have a detrimental effect.

“Someone could go into shock, it could kill them, could potentially be a life-threatening situation,” Kennedy said.

Eyewitness News sent CHS officials a long list of questions about how the thefts were uncovered, their drug screening policies, and Dahl’s record on the job. Officials would not answer any questions, but sent a statement that read, “We are fully cooperating with authorities from the SBI who are focusing their investigation on Mr. Dahl.”

Union County EMS would be required by law to notify local authorities and the N.C. Office of EMS about any missing medication.

The Union County Sheriff’s Office and Monroe Police said Thursday they had not been notified of any possible thefts at the agency.

CHS officials also declined comment on questions regarding when and if they notified the proper authorities.



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Chicago Ambulance Breaks Down While Carrying Gunshot Victim

Posted on 26 May 2013 by wyoskibum

CHICAGO, IL – In latest mishap with Chicago Fire Department vehicles, ambulance breaks down while carrying gunshot victim. He later dies.

A smooth, quick ambulance transport can be the difference between life and death for patients.

Now, troubling questions are being raised about whether a Chicago Fire Department ambulance actually contributed to a man’s demise after it broke down on a city street while transporting a South Side gunshot victim to the hospital.

The April 4 incident was the latest in a string of mechanical problems with Chicago’s ambulance fleet – problems that are putting fire department employees and the public at risk, according to a Better Government Association/CBS2 investigation.

“There’s no excuse,” said Kimberly Simmons, the mother of 22-year-old De’Angelo Simmons, the gunshot victim who was being transported in Ambulance 55 when it impossibly stalled. “An ambulance is supposed to help save lives. . . . They’re supposed to be mechanically fixed to make it.”

De’Angelo Simmons lived at 80th and Manistee in the South Shore/South Chicago area. He was near his home around 6 p.m. when two offenders approached the group he was with and at least one of them opened fire, according to police.

An 18-year-old male was shot in the ankle. De’Angelo Simmons was shot in the abdomen, with the bullet tearing through his stomach, liver, pancreas and aorta before coming to rest “in the soft tissue on the right side of the back,” according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

De’Angelo Simmons made it back to his block. Ambulance 55 was dispatched there at 6:09 p.m., according to fire department records.

“Everybody thought everything was gonna be OK because he was talking, breathing good,” Ronald Holly, a brother of the victim, said in an interview. “He was ready to get up.”

Added Kimberly Simmons: “He wanted to get up and I just told him to lay down and be still and the ambulance was coming.”

A fire engine with a paramedic on board arrived at 6:15 p.m., according to an audio recording of rescue personnel. That paramedic initiated treatment on De’Angelo Simmons, according to fire department spokesman Larry Langford. At 6:17 p.m., the ambulance showed up, according to the fire records.

After loading him up, the crew headed toward Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Although the medical center was downtown, more than 12 miles away, and Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn was slightly closer, it was a “judgment call” by personnel who thought the ambulance could get downtown quicker at that hour on Lake Shore Drive, Langford said.

While on the way, De’Angelo Simmons’ condition dramatically worsened, with no pulse or blood pressure detected around 6:30 p.m., and cardiac arrest recorded at 6:39 p.m., fire records show.

Five minutes later Ambulance 55 radioed to dispatch that the vehicle stalled at Lake Shore and Randolph in the Loop, according to records and the audio log.

“Our ambulance just broke down,” a paramedic said over the radio, according to a recording of the conversation.

A dispatcher asked, “What happened with your rig?”

“We just lost power, shut off, we cannot get it started,” the paramedic responded.

Later it was determined a fuel injection problem was the culprit, city officials said.

Ambulance 11 was quickly dispatched to the scene, the audio log shows. And it arrived at about 6:50 p.m., according to records. Within roughly five minutes the patient was loaded up and en route to Northwestern, the records show.

The overall delay from the time of the breakdown to the resumption of the trip in the new ambulance was between eight and 11 minutes. The exact time was unclear because of conflicting city records.

Shortly before 7 p.m., the ambulance reached Northwestern, where De’Angelo Simmons was pronounced dead at 7:04 p.m., according to city and county records. An autopsy concluded he died from the gunshot wound, and the case was classified as a homicide.

Medical experts interviewed for this story said that, given the man’s wounds and condition, he had little or no chance of surviving even if the ambulance hadn’t broken down. That’s echoed by fire officials.

But De’Angelo Simmons’ family members still have their doubts. His mother said she will always wonder “would my baby have lived if the ambulance wouldn’t have broke down.”

Especially troubling is this isn’t an isolated incident.

Over the winter, at least two ambulances had tires pop off and another had a door partially come off its hinges. In one of those instances, a patient was being transported but was unharmed, according to the fire department.

After that the city began spot-checking all 109 ambulances on top of the inspections done to ensure the vehicles pass state-mandated examinations every six months. Even with all the checks in place, longtime ambulance personnel said many ambulances are just too old or tired to be reliably used, and the city is trying to squeeze every bit of life out of them to save money.

City officials would not address that claim head on.

But David Reynolds, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Fleet and Facilities Management, said the city is in the process of buying 25 new ambulances at about $140,000 apiece, and they could be in service by January.

“Ambulances aren’t necessarily like your personal vehicle, they get a lot of heavy use. Because they get heavy use they get maintained very often. And they get more repairs than you might expect for your personal vehicle,” said Reynolds, whose taxpayer-funded agency is responsible for city vehicle maintenance.

He added, “We do our best to maintain them . . . but any mechanical piece of equipment could break down.”

Ambulance 55, a 2007 model with about 120,000 miles, has since been repaired and is back in service.

Police said they have made no arrests in the De’Angelo Simmons murder, which they have said is likely gang-related.



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Utah paramedic suspected of forging prescriptions

Posted on 26 May 2013 by wyoskibum

SALT LAKE CITY, UT – For the second time this month, a member of the Unified Fire Authority has been arrested on suspicion of prescription drug charges.

UFA Fire Chief Michael Jensen confirmed that paramedic Bruce Bergdahl, 44, was arrested Wednesday in Box Elder County, where the 18-year employee lives. Jensen could not elaborate on his alleged crimes, since he had not had a chance to read any police reports.

A Box Elder County Jail employee said that Bergdahl was booked on three counts of forgery of a prescription.

“We are very, very disappointed. We’re shocked,” Jensen said.

As part of its routine checks, UFA became aware of irregularities and discrepancies concerning its supply of controlled substances and asked local law enforcement to investigate. Cottonwood Heights police have been looking into the alleged thefts from their fire stations and obtained drug histories for several employees.

But as far as Jensen knows, Bergdahl’s charges are not tied to the missing drugs. He added that investigators have given him a heads-up that they are looking into another UFA paramedic as well, though Jensen said that police have not told him who that employee is.

Bergdahl is the second member of UFA to be arrested after the initiation of the investigation. Earlier this month, assistant Chief Marlon Don Jones, 48, was charged in 3rd District Court with 14 third-degree felony counts of so-called “doctor shopping.”

A detective found that Jones had obtained a large number of prescriptions for several different controlled substances from pharmacies, including hydrocodone and carisoprodol, which are pain relievers, and zolpidem, a sleep aid, according to the charges. The prescriptions had been issued by three doctors, at least two of whom did not know Jones was receiving prescribed drugs from other physicians.

“It’s a human tragedy … They were very valuable employees. They went out and risked their lives,” Jensen said. But during their off hours, they apparently got caught up in these issues, he said.

Jones and Bergdahl are on administrative leave until UFA determines what disciplinary action to take.



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Ambulance Responding to Rosemount Rollover Struck by Passing Car

Posted on 26 May 2013 by wyoskibum

ROSEMOUNT, MN – An ambulance responding to a rollover crash along County Road 42 in Rosemount on Tuesday morning was in turn hit by another vehicle, according to Rosemount police.

Two people sustained minor injuries during the consecutive accidents, which occurred west of Hwy. 52, police said.

Rosemount police and Health East paramedics responded to the first crash at approximately 9:22 a.m. on Tuesday. The driver, 21-year-oold Dylan Skov, had been westbound on County Road 42 when his Jeep Cherokee left the roadway and rolled over, police said. Skov, who was wearing his seatbelt, suffered only minor injuries.

The Health East ambulance had just arrived on scene at 9:32 a.m. when it was struck by a Ford Explorer, which also rolled over. Trevor Johnson, a 31-year-old Rosemount resident, was driving the Explorer and sustained minor injuries. He was wearing his seatbelt at the time of the collision.

Rosemount police and fire crews were assisted by the Minnesota State Patrol, Apple Valley Police Department and Health East ambulance service.

The accident is still under investigation.



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State Police: Ambulance Driver Falls Asleep, 3 People Transported to Hospitals

Posted on 26 May 2013 by wyoskibum

DODDRIDGE COUNTY, WV – West Virginia State Police are investigating an ambulance crash that happened in Doddridge County late Monday night.  A Jan-Care ambulance crashed on Route 50 near Arnold’s Creek just after 11 p.m.

The driver, Charles Messenger, 39 of Bruceton Mills, said he was traveling toward Parkersburg when the vehicle ran off the roadway and ended up in the guard rail and a ravine, according to West Virginia State Police. Messenger told police that he had fallen asleep while driving.

Charlene Webb, 65 of Vienna, was a patient in the ambulance, according to state police. Webb was taken to United Hospital Center for treatment.

An EMT passenger in the ambulance, Melinda Curtis, 51 of Jane Lew, was flown by Air Evac Lifeteam to Ruby Memorial Hospital.



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Paramedic critical after ambulance collides with pickup

Posted on 19 May 2013 by wyoskibum

TOWN OF ULSTER, NY – A Mobile Life Support Services paramedic is in critical condition and an emergency medical technician was injured after their ambulance collided head-on with a pickup truck on Route 32 on Saturday morning, the Ulster County sheriff’s office said.

William Spadafora, 43, of Hurley had to be extricated from the ambulance he was driving after it collided with a 2002 Dodge pickup near Platt Lane around 6:55 a.m. He was then airlifted to Albany Medical Center with multiple serious injuries, police said.

Gigi Williams, a 22-year-old EMT riding with Spadafora, was taken to Kingston Hospital with a head injury. Williams, also of Hurley, was then moved to Albany Medical in stable condition, said Andrew LaMarca, director of development for Mobile Life

The driver of the pickup, 18-year-old Marco Ochoa of Kingston, also had to be extricated, police said. He and a passenger, 21-year-old Reyes Lucero, were both taken to Kingston Hospital with minor injuries, police said.

“To the best of our knowledge Gigi is stable,” LaMarca said. “Bill has undergone surgery, and I guess there will be number of procedures.”

The ambulance was traveling north on Route 32 when it collided with a Dodge pickup heading south, Bloomington Fire Chief Kevin Keller said.

“It was significant damage to both vehicles and the ambulance had a slight engine fire,” Keller said.

In addition to Bloomington fire personnel, both the Kingston and Rosendale fire departments responded with extrication equipment, Keller said.


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Collier County EMS denies response delays

Posted on 19 May 2013 by wyoskibum

COLLIER COUNTY, FL – Collier County EMS personnel continue to fight off fierce criticism over their response times.

We got our hands on an internal report into one mishandled call.

The delay had to do with an emergency tone that responders are supposed to use to initiate their response.

But in the case of Charles and Elsie Minard’s son Chaz, the sound fell on deaf ears.

“EMS failed one way or another. Period,” said Charles Minard, the victim’s father.

Last December, Chaz suffered a heart attack.

They said 11 minutes went by before EMS arrived on scene.

They were 5 minutes late.

“Our daughter was screaming where are they, where are they, where are they? Because they took forever,” said Elsie Minard, the victim’s mother.

According to an internal investigation, paramedics said they never heard the initial 6 second tone.

The mishandled emergency call set off a firestorm of criticism.

Just this week, county commissioner Georgia Hiller called on the state to investigate a possible cover up.

EMS chief Walter Kopka stands by his team and technology.

“I’m very proud of what we do,” said Kopka.

Ems personnel use pagers, tablets and portable radios, and they rely on those 6 seconds of tone to activate.

“Is this technology reliable? Absolutely, and it shouldn’t be alarming to people because we have multiple layers of backup,” said Kopka.

For Chaz, none went off originally, requiring a second dispatch 4 minutes later.

The internal report names a number of possible reasons why, from cell service to crews vacuuming during the dispatch.

“There’s just too much going on with EMS,” said Charles Minard.

Kopka tells us firefighters still arrived on time saying the tiered response system worked.

“If any agency wanted to inspect what we do, I’m very proud of what we do,” said Kopka.



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DC paramedic departures causing major staffing concerns

Posted on 19 May 2013 by wyoskibum

WASHINGTON, DC – The District of Columbia is losing paramedics at an alarming rate and they are not being replaced.

53 have resigned or retired since Kenneth Ellerbe became fire chief in 2011.

It is an exodus that has led to a critical staffing shortage with advanced life support units going unfilled every day.

The firefighters’ union has been sounding the alarm for months, telling D.C. councilmembers and anyone who will listen, the net loss of paramedics has created a “crisis” situation with first responders forced to work 36-hour shifts and advanced life support units left off the streets every single day.

Normal protocol has 14 medic units staffed during every shift. It is a number designed to make sure advanced life support is available within minutes of a 911 call in every ward in the city.

But as paramedics leave without being replaced, those 14 medic units have dwindled.

According to the firefighters union in 2011, two to three Advanced Life Support units were downgraded to Basic Life Support every day.

In 2012, the numbers went from four to five, and so far this year, it is averaging five to six downgrades every day.

“Pretty simply, the basic difference between a paramedic and an EMT is that the paramedic brings the ER to you in the first 20 minutes, so everything the ER can do in those first critical minutes, a paramedic can do for you in the field,” said Paramedic Joe Papariello in an interview Thursday.

Emergency medical technicians cannot administer drugs. It is a vital function in some trauma cases.

“There are a lot of drugs that we can give,” said Papariello, the Union’s EMS official. “Over 30 in our protocols … if you are having a heart attack or you have a broken bone, we can deliver those.”

But as paramedics leave, those services have diminished.

Take for example the month of April. According to the union in April 2011, more than 23 percent of the scheduled Advanced Life Support units were taken off the streets.

In April of last year, it was more than 34 percent, and so far this year, it has risen to more than 42 percent.

“And when we don’t have enough units on the street, units have to respond out of their areas that they are supposed to protect, and it puts a stress on the system and on the individual, and that’s why a lot of our medics are leaving,” said Papariello.

The staffing shortage has also lead to forced overtime. In 2012, according to the union, 185 times paramedics were held over for a 36-hour shift. So far this year, it’s happened 136 times.

Just this month on May 9, the fire department announced in a special order three more firefighter/paramedics had decided to resign.

“We are in a crisis mode,” said Union President Ed Smith. “I mean, in the 90′s when they were closing firehouses, you had firehouse roulette. You didn’t know where the wheel was going to stop. Right now today, we have medic unit roulette and I hope it doesn’t stop on the wrong person.”

On Friday morning, Chief Ellerbe will go before the D.C. Council’s Judiciary Committee where he is expected to testify about his ambulance deployment plan.

He declined our request for an on-camera interview.

In recent testimony, the chief told the council he plans to train current EMTs to become paramedics. But as the union points out, that could take up to two years.


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