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By John R. Bolton
Reality calls for attaching Gaza to Egypt and the West Bank to Jordan
Topic - Paul A. Quander Jr.
The D.C. Council member with oversight of the fire department on Tuesday called for the resignations of the fire chief and the deputy mayor for public safety and justice, saying the administration has failed to present a plan to address chronic troubles with emergency response.
D.C. public safety officials will be asked Monday to account for several high-profile failures of the city's emergency response system, including the death of a man who collapsed across the street from a fire station and was refused aid.
A D.C. firefighter filed a police complaint accusing Fire Chief Kenneth B. Ellerbe of assault, pointing to an encounter last week when the chief showed up on the scene of an ambulance fire and grabbed the man's cell phone from his hand.
The D.C. fire department is set to hire civilian paramedics to address dire shortages in its emergency medical services workforce — moving forward with a major policy shift that reverses decades of efforts to establish an agency whose employees are cross-trained as both medics and firefighters.
City officials have asked police to investigate two fires that occurred Tuesday aboard D.C. ambulances amid a series of embarrassing failures with the District's emergency medical fleet that has affected everyone from regular residents to the president of the United States.
Widespread ambulance breakdowns brought on by high summer temperatures have overwhelmed the D.C. fire department — causing it to send 22 ambulances to other agency's mechanics for repairs and to outsource coverage of special events to private ambulance companies for the coming weeks, according to agency officials.
D.C. police officers are spending too much time in hospitals, Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier says. But the problem isn't officers getting hurt on the job, it's officers being sent to hospitals to guard people who have been arrested.
Officials within the D.C. mayor's administration spent much of Monday clarifying comments made by Mayor Vincent C. Gray about whether the fire department could effectively respond to a disaster such as the recent Boston Marathon bombings.
Skeptical D.C. Council members demanded answers from the city's fire chief Thursday on what they said were serious and systemic problems with the department in the wake of a string of failed responses to emergency calls.
Three D.C. ambulance crews and a supervisory officer are facing possible discipline for failing to follow department protocols the night a police officer was struck by a car and no city ambulances were available to transport him to a hospital, according to an investigative report released Thursday.
The head of the D.C. firefighters' union says a plan to keep two fully stocked, reserve ambulances ready to be put on the street in case others have mechanical problems is too little, too late.
The D.C. fire department now has two fully-stocked, reserve ambulances ready to be put on the street in case others have mechanical problems — a new tactic meant to prevent an incident such as occurred Tuesday, when several ambulances had mechanical problems and none were available to transport a police officer injured in a hit-and-run to a hospital.
During the hearing, Mr. Quander said five firefighters' lack of response was "an absolute failure to do what was appropriate."
He said neither of those issues contributed directly to the failures at Engine 26.