Many people have requested an update on our emergency medical service (EMS) status. This is an exceptionally sore point here in Rosslyn, where the County Board has failed to provide evening EMS transport service despite repeated demands. Fortunately, this update brings (primarily) good news.
As you may be aware, the Rosslyn Fire Station provides emergency life support tranport services (i.e., ambulance care) during business working hours (i.e., until 7:00 pm). After that time, the closest EMS transport unit is at the Clarendon station -- which can be a problem, particularly during high traffic hours (e.g., 7 - 7:30 pm) or when the Clarendon transport unit is on call at the far end of the Clarendon service area. In past years, the County Board justified this omission on budgetary grounds, arguing that Rosslyn's EMS demand is not sufficient, after business hours, to justify full paramedic service.
Although Rosslyn's fire fighters are all trained in basic life support, they do not have the full range of paramedic training, equipment, or transport capability of an emergency transport unit. Last year, Michael Clancy and others pressured the County Board to provide full 24-hour EMS service (including transport) at all Arlington stations, including Rosslyn. Fortunately, then-Chairman Zimmerman agreed, and the County Board committed to funding full 24-hour EMS at Rosslyn beginning January, 2003.
Early this month, a rumor circulated in the neighborhood that the County Board had reneged on its commitment. Some have observed, accurately, that it is now February and we still do not have 24-hour emergency transport here in Rosslyn.
In fact, Chief Schwartz reports that the County did indeed fund its commitment, and additional EMS staff have been hired. Chief Schwartz told me this evening that we can expect to have 24-hour EMS transport service out of the Rosslyn Station beginning April 7, 2003. The Board had earlier stated that 24-hour service would begin January 1, using existing staff on an over-time basis to cover the evening shift until the new staff is hired. However, Schwartz reports that recent injuries and sick leave among our fire safety staff has precluded expansion of service until April 7. Nevertheless, the bottom line is that Chief Schwartz assures me that we will have full 24-hour EMS transport service beginning in April.
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