Cross-training put aside to hire paramedics for D.C. fire department

Decision fills need, as does purchase of 30 ambulances

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“Some folks who are paramedics don’t want to be firefighters,” he said.

But in the future, those who do want to become firefighters will be given the opportunity to transition over.

The firefighters union echoed Mr. Mendelson’s sentiments, with union President Ed Smith calling the measures a “stopgap” and questioning the efficiency of creating a hiring process for a special skill set.

“We don’t have to reinvent the wheel,” Mr. Smith said.

With new hires and equipment on the way, Chief Ellerbe announced that he also would be resubmitting a plan that alters the deployment of ambulances on city streets. The plan, which was rejected once by the D.C. Council, would call for more paramedics to work during hours with heavy call volume but would leave none on ambulances overnight.

“I think it was rejected because there may have been some concerns about our ability to provide the infrastructure to support the plan,” Chief Ellerbe said.

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