Washington, D.C. EMS is back in the news and, as usual, it’s not for good reasons. Apparently, paramedics are leaving the city’s fire department in droves. According to the article I found, 53 Paramedic seven resigned were retired since the new Fire Chief was instated in 2011.
Central Fire Department Leadership Issues
Some in the DC fire department are calling this a critical problem and shortage of qualified advanced life support providers running the city’s ambulances. The city previously had 14 Paramedic staffed units on the street during a normal day, however that number has dropped to 11 since the recent resignations and retirements. DC Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe is expected to report on new EMS staffing plans to the Washington DC City Council.
I reported on this type of problem here on the MedicCast before, and Washington DC has long been in my “unofficial” list of departments I don’t think you would want to work for. As many of you know, I think there are more instances of EMS services being run poorly by fire departments than there are success stories from fire based EMS.
Few Great Fire-Based EMS Systems
For every great system like Howard County, Maryland Fire Rescue Service, running a superb EMS system, there are at least two fire department based EMS systems that are suffering from poor morale and, what I can only call general mistreatment, of the EMS program by fire officials who are not focused on the importance of EMS care. If you’re out there looking for a job as an EMS provider like an EMT or paramedic, I urge you to look very carefully at the systems from which you are applying for that job.
If it all possible, find someone you trust who has worked in the system for an extended period of time and ask them to talk to you, not just about the positive things in that system, but also about what kind of problems that system is experiencing. Every system has things they need to work on.
What kind of questions do you ask when applying for a job in a new EMS service? Let me know. Shoot me an email here to firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know what you do when seeking a new job as an EMS professional.
Follow-up on the link for this and other news items as well as all of the additional resource links in the show notes for this episode – Allergic Reaction EMS Review and Episode 336.