After years of mechanical problems plaguing the District’s emergency response vehicles, the D.C. Council is moving to fund $65 million in fixes.
The Council’s Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety wants the District to replace old and broken down ambulances, fire engines, and ladder trucks with the funds, as well as build a new repair shop.
Long-standing maintenance issues and purchasing shortages means the department no longer has a reserve fleet of ladder trucks to replace those going out of service for repairs.
This has left the D.C. Fire and EMS scrambling to cover for missing vehicles. When one goes out of service, the department swaps in vehicles from other neighborhoods in shifts to cover the missing apparatus. It’s also led firefighters to try fixing mechanical issues themselves because they don’t trust the department’s repair shop. Last year, one aging truck malfunctioned during a training exercise, leading to a firefighter breaking his leg.
On Tuesday, the full D.C. Council will take a final swing at the budget.