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Critics Say D.C. Fire And EMS Critically Understaffed

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Ambulances are in short supply in D.C., as are the professionals to staff them.
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Ambulances are in short supply in D.C., as are the professionals to staff them.

Critics of the D.C. Fire and EMS department say it is struggling to keep up with the city's growing population and increasing number of emergency medical calls because it has too few paramedics.

The department has lost more than 40 paramedics since 2011, and just two have been hired. The attrition rate is just one of many problems.

Lori Moore-Merrell is an assistant to the general president of the International Association of Firefighters. She tells the Associated Press that a shortage of ambulances, inadequate training and a poor strategy make the District "one of the worst EMS systems in the country when compared to other major metropolitan areas.''

Staffing and response time data collected by the AP show the District is attempting to make do with less than half the paramedics employed by similar departments.

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