assuming "now stationing"
Next, an incident will happen that will make them consider arming firefighters. And they say California is nuts?
It seems desperate. How is DC's budget? Are they in a deficit?
The Mayor's Budget for Fiscal Year 2014
"This proposal is the District of Columbia’s eighteenth consecutive balanced budget."
Good idea or bad idea depends on the costs. IMO, this could have a small positive impact on reducing petty crimes and just providing more "eyes on the street". If they're taking firefighters already on standby payroll and just having them hangout on some street corner instead of at the station house, then it's probably neutral at the worst and likely beneficial.
If they are paying for additional hours or overtime, then this seems like it wouldn't have a very good ROI.
In many Fire Departments, firefighters typically wait around at the fire station between calls. Not a bad thing, just the nature of the job. I would guess that at least part of the reasoning behind the move is that the firefighters are getting paid the same whether they are waiting in the fire station or on the street.
The danger here is to the firefighters themselves. There have been numerous instances of people shooting at firefighters.