D.C. Responders Flee Stations to Avoid Biting Bedbugs

D.C. Responders Flee Stations to Avoid Biting Bedbugs

News Dec 16, 2012

A bedbug infestation at a Northwest Washington fire station left firefighters sleeping in their personal vehicles or in the firetrucks to avoid being bitten by the bugs in their bunkrooms, a report on the conditions at D.C. firehouses found.

The 180-page report by the Office of the Inspector General details a wide swath of problematic conditions at D.C. fire stations across the city, including a lack of working smoke detectors, leaking roofs, flooded basements, rodent infestations and inoperable heating or cooling systems. Among the findings, 19 stations had significant rodent problems with one reporting that dead mice had been found in a refrigerator, seven did not have functional heating systems in living quarters, 27 did not have fire extinguishers, and 22 reported that the monitor that displays call information either was not working or was unreliable.

Complicating matters is the fact that the department has no formal policy for reporting and overseeing repairs.

The report says the inspection team "is concerned that this lack of policies and procedures specific to the needs" of the department may delay repairs to the buildings.

At Engine Company 31 at 4930 Connecticut Ave. NW, employees told inspectors that bedbugs had festered in the wooden floors of the bunkrooms for six months. The report, which was issued to D.C. Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe on Nov. 29, recommends the department invest in regular deep cleaning of facilities to decrease bedbug and other pest problems. The inspector general's office estimates that the cost of the deep cleaning would be $100,000 annually.

A fire department spokesman was not familiar with the report and unable to comment Thursday on its findings.

Problems detailed in the report were noted during inspections of 32 fire stations and the department's fireboat facility. Since the four months of inspections ended in January, the department has taken action to abate some of the problems, the report notes. A new pest control company has taken responsibility for rodent extermination in firehouses. A $4.8 million renovation of Engine Company 29 on MacArthur Boulevard Northwest, meant to address issues with leaks in the building's foundation that have left serious water damage in the basement, began in October.

To prevent serious damage to fire stations in the future, the report recommends a regular inspection schedule to look for things such as leaking windows and roofs.

In response to questions about inspection schedules, department officials wrote in October that several areas of maintenance, including roofs and bay doors for the trucks and ambulances, are now undergoing preventative maintenance and the department is working on prioritizing repairs.

The report notes that several of the serious problems have been ongoing for years. Leaks in the roof of Engine Company 21 at 1763 Lanier Place NW have forced firefighters to use trash cans to collect dripping water in their bunkroom for more than two years, according to one complaint cited in the report.

Continue Reading

The Department of General Services has taken over repairs and procurement requests for the fire department. Fire officials wrote that the two agencies communicate daily about repair requests. However, the report notes that obtaining approval for requests can take several weeks to several months.

"Because of this delay, needed repairs to [department] facilities are not completed in a timely manner," the report states.

Copyright 2012 The Washington Times LLCAll Rights Reserved

Source
The Washington Times
By Andrea Noble THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Las Vegas and Orlando massacres set a grim tone for the normally festive event.
In a project to raise grant funding that began a year ago, the Richmond Ambulance Authority and VCU Health teamed up to provide 35 of Richmond’s Public Schools with Bleeding Control (BCON) equipment. 
Mercy Health's new two-story, 29,000 square foot center features a Level 1 trauma center, an expanded surgical area, and more comfortable patient and visitor access.
Luigi Daberdaku has made 1,500 sandwiches so far for the North Bay first responders managing the wildfires in California.
The Vegas Strong Resiliency Center dedicated to providing resources to those affected by the mass shooting will open on Monday at 1523 Pinto Lane.
A community of nearly 500 deaf people were the last to be notified and evacuated during the wildfires in Sonoma County, calling for better emergency alert systems.
Matt Zavadsky, public affairs director for MedStar Mobile Healthcare, sees a "tipping point" of acceptance.
The NAEMSP issued a statement in response to the recent mass shooting in Las Vegas.
The uSmart® 3200T NexGen enables emergency responders to perform ultrasounds outside the hospital environment.
Country artists performed for gunshot wound victims like firefighter Kurt Fowler, and expressed their gratitude to first responders and hospital staff who helped others the night of the attack.
In an era where many rely on cell phones instead of landlines connected to emergency alert systems, many residents didn't receive warnings of the fires.
Jennifer Lopez, Stevie Wonder, and Ellen DeGeneres are among the group of celebrities who have raised a combined $30 million to assist with recovery efforts in Puerto Rico.
Krista McDonald died on scene and EMT Peggy Eastman was critically injured after a vehicle broadsided their ambulance.

As unpredictable mass casualty incidents have been increasingly on the rise, the Stop the Bleed campaign aims to teach citizens how to stop severe blood loss to keep victims alive before first responders can arrive on scene.

Duracell's disaster relief program has provided batteries to hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico, Texas, Florida, and Louisiana so people can operate their phones, flashlights, radios and other necessary devices.