First Arriving Network
First Arriving Network

Calling them FEMS will not improve out-of-hospital emergency medical care

Email copied to each DC Council member:

Councilmember Phil Mendelson
Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary

Chairman Mendelson:

I appreciate your dedication to focus the fire department on its EMS mission.

I have to share a frustration with the effort to ban "DCFD" and the eagle/badge emblem.

The majority of employees that staff the ambulance in 2011 are dual role firefighter/emt and firefighter/medics.

This is a significant change from the single-role ems employees staffing transport units before the 2007 EMS Task Force.

The other symbolic change since 2007 was in the paint scheme of the ambulances. From white with red/blue stripes to a white over red scheme designed to make them look more like fire department units.

A decision maker within the fire and ems department said the change was made to make ambulance duty "more palatible" to the dual role firefighter/medics and firefighter/emts that staff the units.

Every big city fire department is involved in EMS first response, most also operate the ambulance service.

None of those with ambulances have felt the need to change the identity of the fire department.

Not FDNY (New York City), LAFD (Los Angeles City), Chicago, Philadelphia, Miami-Dade, St. Louis, Memphis, Seattle, San Francisco, Dallas or Houston.

I get the symbolism, and that it was one of the EMS Task Force recommendations.

I also remember the excitement and efforts of the members of the fire and ems department to get the gold eagle/badge logo on the rigs and on the uniforms as soon as they could. Many of the uniform patches, t-shirts and decals were direct employee purchases.

Part of the emergency service lifestyle is that many employees buy additional shirts, t-shirts, "job-shirts" and jackets that proudly proclaim their affiliation with a storied and proud emergency service agency.  Outlawing the wearing of DCFD branded clothing creates a personal financial impact on the employee.

It is fiscally imprudent to require a massive change of decals, uniform patches and uniform shirts – it will NOT change employee attitudes or symbolize to the public a change in focus or dedication of the firefighters, ems providers and civilians who make up the fire and ems department.

A recurrent tradition is that a new fire chief "marks" his territory by changing the color of the fire trucks or the uniform patch.

I am confident that Chief Ellerbe does not need to make the same type of marking to assure fire department focus on EMS.

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<  sent March 29          >>>>>>>>>>>>

When Chief Rubin reinstated the golden eagle/ badge logo in 2007, it was altered to reflect the EMS component.

Noticed that many of the news reports used the older version of the logo that did not show the changes. 


Mike "FossilMedic" Ward

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