Would D.C. Be Ready in an Emergency?

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D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray. (Photo Credit: Alex Wong / Getty Images)

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray. (Photo Credit: Alex Wong / Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — Mayor Vincent Gray is invoking the attack in Boston to make his case for a shift change in the District’s fire and EMS department.

Gray has long argued that the current setup, with 24-hour shifts, doesn’t make the best use of resources and allows some fire and EMS employees to live far away. In a letter to city council chair Phil Mendelson, Gray wrote that if an attack like the one in Boston happened in D.C., it would be “almost impossible” for many workers to respond in a timely manner. Mendelson’s take?

“I think it was ill-considered choice of phrasing,” he said.

Firefighters union president Ed Smith agreed, saying there is precedent for emergencies in D.C.

“Look back at 9/11 and the response of the employees then was astronomical. I mean, they were back in no time flat.”

“The mayor’s comments are misplaced,” Smith said. “I think he’s playing on people’s emotions.”

All of this is just one layer in the contract talks between the union and DC that are now in arbitration.

WNEW’s Matt DelSignore contributed to this report. Follow him and WNEW on Twitter.

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