As an emergency medical technician who has practiced at the advanced life-support level for three years in Massachusetts and the D.C. area, I have followed the troubles of the Emergency Ambulance Division with great concern. Certainly a city such as Washington does not deserve an ambulance service plagued by inept management, long response times, and grossly overworked and inadequately trained personnel.
On a recent Saturday morning, a major automobile accident occurred a few car lengths in front of me at the intersection of Connecticut and Nebraska avenues. While I attended the two victims, a police officer called for an ambulance. Within three minutes, an ambulance had arrived; within 10 minutes, a paramedic unit, a rescue squad and two fire engines had arrived. The members of the fire department provided professional care of the highest medical standards to the victims, especially to the more seriously injured person, who had to be extricated from his vehicle.
Given the negative publicity on ambulance service over the past year, it is important to acknowledge the fire department's excellent performance at this accident. While the administration of the Emergency Ambulance Division continues its infighting, these emergency medical technicians, paramedics and firefighters provided excellent service to their patients and to the District. CHRIS GROOBEY Chevy Chase