First Arriving Network
First Arriving Network

“A Rotating Cycle of Hopelessness…”

“THESE TRUCKS HAVE SAT HERE for months and months. It’s a rotating cycle of hopelessness.”  Those are the words of  Detroit EMS Union President Wisam Zeineh as he describes the sorry situation of EMS service in the broken city.

Last week FossilMedic reported on the lack of sufficient ambulances to transport the eight injured firefighters that had a wall collapse on them at an commercial fire that turned out to be an arson.  Five of them were transported in fire trucks or police cars.  (See FossilMedic’s report in Firegeezer HERE.)  This was not an unusual situation in Detroit.  Instead it is the norm there.  Just the day before the tragic fire on Friday the 13th, the local Fox television station WJBK-TV broadcast a video report showing that of Detroit’s 45 ambulances, 31 of them are out of service for mechanical reasons and little or no work is being performed on them. 

This photo shows broken ambulances (but no mechanics) stacked
up in the maintenance shop, while (below) more are parked outside.

Both images via WJBK-TV

While there is a bare minimum of 22 ambulances needed to provide basic coverage, they are only getting 14 to 16 on the street each day.  In a sorry attempt to fill the gap, EMT’s are being dispatched in regular fire department sedans like the fire inspectors would be using, equipped with a medical bag, defibrillator, oxygen tank and an EpiPen.  WJBK reported on this silliness in this video report:

As if to confirm any suspicion of incompetence,  the next day, Saturday August 14, a city resident died of a heart attack while his family spent more than a half-hour trying to get the 9-1-1 call takers to answer the phone.  At one time they were put on hold for ten minutes before they hung up the phone and most of the other attempts were never even answered.  That sad case was also documented by WJBK-TV:

As if they were trying to make sure WJBK had plenty of stories to work with, four days later a man had a serious accident with a lawn mower that cut off part of his foot.  Despite dozens of calls from relatives and concerned neighbors, the only response they got was being told that there were no ambulances available.  They should have also told the callers that there weren’t any Ford Vic. sedans available either, because the poor guy didn’t even get one of those.  Again, WJBK documented the fiasco:

It makes you wonder why the citizens of Detroit keep voting in the city council that allows this to go on, and a mayor who appoints incompetent fire chiefs.

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