The District of Columbia Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department (FEMS) reported improved service following changes to its operation, including adding new fleet vehicles and partially contracting out services to a private ambulance provider.

Since 2015, the department hired more than 100 employees and improved DC’s previously depleted apparatus fleet, putting 34 new or refurbished ambulances and 12 new or refurbished ladder trucks and engines on the street, according to FEMS.

This has resulted in improved unit availability and lowered response times, and allowed the department to handle an increase in 911 calls. 

The third-party ambulance provider has been able to cover much of the less serious calls, the Washington Times reported. The provider signed on to operate and maintain 29 private ambulances in the district after FEMS was reportedly overwhelmed by a record number of low-priority 911 calls.