D.C. fire chief wants fewer firefighters, closer

They risk their lives every day responding to emergencies of all types, but D.C. Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe says too many employees live too far away in case of an emergency.

Only 25 percent of D.C. firefighters live in D.C., and 41 percent live between 30 and 100 miles away from the city. Some live as far away as New Jersey, North Carolina and South Carolina.

To encourage firefighter to live closer, Ellerbe wants to change the shifts they work from the current 24-hour-shifts eight days a month.

Under the new schedule, they would work 22 days a month in 12 hour shifts.

Ellerbe says this might cause some employees to quit, not a fully unwelcome effect as he wants to cut his staff by about 20 percent. Ellerbe wants to go from currently about 2,200 to a proposed 1,625 firefighters.