DCFEMS Does it Again

Cardiac Arrest


News sources are reporting that once again the District of Columbia Fire and EMS Department (DCFEMS) failed to provide services after being notified of an emergency.

This time, units were dispatched for a heart attack and the first arriving fire company mistook police activity on the block of the actual address for their incident and cancelled the call when police said no help was needed.

The original callers waited some 19 minutes for help to finally arrive at their home.

The patient died.

Assumed and Presumed

According to the Washington Post, a DCFEMS spokesman said, “when firefighters arrived in the 400 block of 60th Street NE, they saw police with what they presumed to be their patient on the ground. When they saw the patient didn’t need medical care, they went back to their quarters.”

The spokesman also said, “they had assumed the call they saw was the call they were on” for the heart attack. But, the spokesman said, “that was not the actual call.”

The Post also quotes Ed Smith, IAFF Local 36 president as saying, “firefighters are not supposed to pass one emergency to go to another. They are obligated by duty to act.”

The Post added, “But he (Smith) also said he did not know whether that circumstance applied to this case.”

Smith was throwing a deliberate “red herring” out knowing it was not applicable to the incident, a sorry excuse for leadership.

Post Reader Comments

It’s often the case that people commenting on these stories lack the system knowledge or details to speak intelligently.

Not here and not now.

DCFEMS’ reckless behavior has gone on for so long that some writers are hitting the bull’s eye.

“So they went to the wrong address – and when they got there, they couldn’t be bothered to actually get out of the ambulance and speak to anyone to clarify the situation at the address (they thought) they were called to. Pathetic.”

“Would it have been too much to get out of their truck and make sure all was okay when they thought they were at the right location and there was already assistance there?”

“The problem is with the union and the rank-and-file. The city has gone through numerous fire chiefs and politicos yet here we are with the same issues.”

“Only an organization as broken as DCFEMS could be given the correct address, yet show up at the wrong one in the year 2015, when every phone, car, tablet has navigation.”

Blame it on Chief Ellerbe

Oh, wait, we can’t do that anymore, he’s gone.

How about Gregory M. Dean, the new chief?  He should be fair game.

Or perhaps “dispatching, computer glitches and too few ambulances.”

It’s very hard to conclude that DCFEMS employees care a wit about the folks who live and work here.

And, the same can be said for the union when Ed Smith is deliberately confusing the issue.

There are too many of these incidents to not conclude that company officers and operational chiefs, at least, are often complete and dismal failures and that Local 36 is there to cover their asses.

And the citizens face the deadly consequences.




1 Comment

  • IslaFire says:

    There are a few times in my 12 year career that a similar instance has occurred. Most are for motor vehicle collisions with PD on scene. I have had a couple where it comes in as person pinned. We show up and PD has been on scene for awhile and says, “there are no injuries.” Okay.

    I would say that this instance is probably not one of those.

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