Topics: National News

New ambulances, paramedics for struggling DC dept.

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Photo -   New Fire and Emergency Medical Services recruit, cadet Antonio Freeman, left, and others, attend a news conference where District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray, not in picture, announced the new Fire and Emergency Medical Services hires and displays the District’s newest ambulances during a news conference in Washington, Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
New Fire and Emergency Medical Services recruit, cadet Antonio Freeman, left, and others, attend a news conference where District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray, not in picture, announced the new Fire and Emergency Medical Services hires and displays the District’s newest ambulances during a news conference in Washington, Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
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WASHINGTON (AP) — The beleaguered fire and EMS department in the nation's capital is adding new paramedics and ambulances to its ranks, but the District of Columbia is still well short of the staffing levels in similar-sized cities.

Mayor Vincent Gray and Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe announced Tuesday that nine new paramedics and 30 new ambulances will be on the streets by year's end.

The department has struggled to provide timely emergency medical care. The Associated Press has reported the district is trying to make do with less than half the paramedics employed by urban departments that respond to similar numbers of medical calls.

Ellerbe says the department's ability to respond to emergency medical calls was at a tipping point. He says the agency is now in a position to turn the corner.

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