The EMeRG ambulance is finally certified to operate after years of red tape – giving more responsibility to the student-run emergency care provider and lowering the cost of a trip to the hospital.
The University received clearance from the city this month to operate the vehicle, a decision that has been anticipated since they first applied in 1999. The University purchased the ambulance in 2006 for $7,000, but it remained parked on the Virginia campus and next to the Marvin Center.
Initial attempts to obtain proper certifications were thwarted by the D.C. Fire Department, which refused to sign off on the idea for unstated reasons, University Police Department Chief Dolores Stafford said. In January, new department leadership agreed to support the proposal, paving the road for approval, she said.
The ambulance, which is white with red decals, became operational after receiving new striping and a paint job. Stafford said she expects it will allow EMeRG to reach more patients, most of whom are GW students and staff members.
It will also nix the high price of paying for emergency transportation provided by city agencies. Hospitalized students currently pay anywhere from $500 to $800 to ride with the D.C. Fire Department – a cost not always covered by health insurance.
“We’re providing that service free of charge,” Stafford said.
The certification coincides with EMeRG’s move to their new headquarters on 22nd and G streets, in the former home of DJ’s Fastbreak. They will occupy the top floor of the building, which is also slated to contain a student lounge.