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The District of Columbia Fire and EMS Department is proud to report our recent progress in the area of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) reform. The Department has improved outcomes in the areas of unit availability, response times, vehicle maintenance and repair, training of our providers, and ultimately patient care. As shown in the following information and graphics, the Department continues to make substantial progress on our goal to create better quality service for our residents and customers.


Cardiac Survival Rates – On the Rise

As detailed below, the Department continues to see progress in the area of patient care quality. Our cardiac arrest survival rates have increased for the fourth year in a row. The District is now at or above the national average in five out of seven Utstein categories tracked by the national Cardiac Arrest Registry to Enhance Survival (CARES) database. The following two charts show that as our rate of cases where a bystander conducts CPR on a cardiac arrest patient has increased, so has our overall survival rate for cardiac arrest with cardiac etiology.

Utstein Overall Survival and Bystander Intervention Charts (DRAFT)_Page_1.jpg

Utstein Overall Survival and Bystander Intervention Charts (DRAFT)_Page_1.jpg

For more information on Cardiac Arrest and how FEMS evaluates patient data, please click here



Hands on Hearts Initiative

Since 2015, we have trained over 45,000 citizens in Hands Only Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) through the Hands on Hearts initiative. For more information on our Hands on Hearts CPR program, click here. The Department is also working with the Department of General Services (DGS) to place Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) in every school in the District of Columbia.

                                  School CPR Training.jpg

Atrus AED Locator System

The Atrus AED Locator System will allow for more first responders to know the location of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) so they can be found when needed and used quickly to help save lives. We hope these efforts will drive our survival rates up even further. For more information on our AED program, click here. For more information on the Atrus National AED Registry, click here.

Pulsepoint Inititiave

FEMS and the Office of Unified Communications (OUC) launched the Pulsepoint mobile application which can alert potential bystanders about a nearby victim of Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) and can transmit the closest location of an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) to that person, facilitating bystander aid in Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) before the arrival of FEMS personnel.


  Transport Availability

In 2016, the Department launched the implementation of the AMR Third Party contract. The partnership has significantly improved the Department's unit availability, as shown in the chart below. The chart shows our transport unit availability levels for eleven of more transports, beginning from AMR implementation in March, 2016 and ending in March, 2019:

TUV 2016 to 2018 (11 or more Transports) border.jpg

Details - See Link FEMS Ambulance Availability


  The Department sees major increase in EMS related training hours for providers

To strengthen our providers knowledge base and skillset our Department increased the amount of training and have observed promising preliminary data in patient outcomes and in the quality of patient care. The chart below shows a 40 percent increase in EMS related training hours after the AMR partnership was implemented in March 28, 2016:

Training hours Increase after AMR.jpg

To strengthen our providers knowledge the Department has prioritized both the quality of instruction and maximizing the amount of training hours for members under the leadership of Medical Director Dr. Robert Holman. The following enhanced types of EMS training have been delivered, in addition to the existing mandatory baseline certifications:

  • ALS and BLS EMS Module Program
  • Paramedic Grand Rounds (ALS)
  • Company-Based, Case-Based Education (BLS and ALS)
  • University and Hospital Partnerships
  • O2X Human Performance Workshop



The Department has improved it's ability to conduct preventative maintenance through capacity improvements.

The launch of the AMR contract as well as the addition of new ambulances to our Department's fleet has had a positive impact on the Department's ability to conduct preventative maintenance, and on the number of operational and reserve units available. As the chart below shows, our ambulance "uptime" percentage and moving average over the last 3 years shows the Department is making steady progress:

Ambo Uptime Improvements.jpg


Gears Image.jpg


The Department has put into service several new fleet vehicles to improve efficiency, service and operations. 

Recently, eight new fire engine trucks were put into service along with three new EMS Supervisor buggies. The Department has also taken into delivery six new Horton Ambulances. These new vehicles will improve efficiency, service and operations throughout the Department.

                Fleet Truck.jpg