WASHINGTON (ABC7) — Van-style ambulances with "AMR" painted on the side moved through cones on the asphalt today as their operators performed maneuvers at the D.C. Fire/EMS Training Academy at Blue Plains in Southwest D.C.
The plan is to have 40 to 50 AMR Basic Life Support ambulances on the streets of D.C. by later this month, to handle non-life threatening transports, so D.C. can focus on more critical transports. They also want to release these AMR's so the city can have breathing-room to provide additional training its paramedics and EMTs, as well as upgrade its fleet of ambulances.
The Colorado based, AMRAmerican Medical Responseis the largest private ambulance company in the country. It currently provides ambulance service in a number of U.S. cities including Miami, Florida and Arlington, Texas. It's employees are now opening a local headquarter in Northeast D.C.; an office so new that workmen are laying carpet on the second floor, while managers are operating around folding tables on the first floor.
They are also taking applications, particularly for EMTs. Erik Rohde, the general manager for the Eastern Region of AMR, said today they need between 150 and 160 new hires. He said D.C. residents would have "some preference," for EMT jobs playing about $21 per hour.
We watched today as Angeli Mendoza - an applicant that went through testing at the headquarters, moving a gurney - climbing practice stairs, listening to an instructor telling her how to bend so as not to injure her back lifting patients.
"I'm just out of EMT basic school," said Mendoza, " I love D.C. I've grown up in Northern Virginia and I know D.C. pretty well."
AMR's plan is to have 15 to 25 ambulances spaced throughout the city to move in and transport patients quickly once summoned.