Photo via BDA Global.

Photo via BDA Global.

A broad-ranging audit of the Washington, D.C., Fire and Emergency Medical Services (FEMS) fleet recommended the department hire a civilian fleet director and outsource some fleet work.

Auditors with BDA Global, hired in July, offered more than 100 recommendations, noting the lack of a preventive maintenance program and the overall poor condition of the fleet.

The audit followed extensive media coverage about the availability of emergency vehicles. BDA Global conducted the audit with consultants SPC/TriData and Mercury Associates, Inc.

Prior to its Nov. 26 release, the department implemented several of the audit's recommendations, which came in the areas of inventory, maintenance and repair, fleet policies and procedures, reserve apparatus requirements, and training and certification of personnel and facilities.

Outsourcing shop operations would result in higher quality fleet operations, and that FEMS should conduct a feasibility study to determine whether this would be possible, according to the audit.

Under the outsourcing plan, FEMS would hire a new fleet director, two quality control specialists, and one analyst. The rest of the staff would be employed by a contractor. As a minimal measure, the fleet should consider contracting services such as maintenance for light- and medium-duty vehicles, towing, and parts supply, according to the audit.

"This study was a significant step in correcting some of the problems that have plagued our fleet division for years," said DCFEMS Chief Kenneth B. Ellerbe in a release. "The recommendations in this report will help us become more efficient and responsive in our operations."

The FEMS owns and maintains 369 vehicles and equipment. Read the full audit here.