First Arriving Network
First Arriving Network

Detroit EMS can only get 50% of its crews on the road. Promised ambulances from two years ago never purchased.

A continuing cycle of dysfunction

For the third time in the past decade, Detroit EMS is at a crisis point with a worn-out fleet of ambulances. Only 10 of the budgeted 19 ambulances are on the street.

This latest crisis, as unfolded in the media:

When Commissioner Donald Austin arrived in July 2011 the headline read:  “More Ambulances, More Training, Less Fear” New Detroit Fire Commissioner Donald Austin reaches out to medical community, says 22 new transport units will start arriving in January. Not writing up guys for minor uniform infractions

In a September 28, 2011 article, WJBK Fox 2 determined that the city had not ordered the ambulances: Detroit Hasn't Ordered Promised Ambulances  The mayor's office responded with this statement:

"The city continues to work to obtain the necessary funds to secure the new rigs. The specifications for the vehicles are complete. The bidding process is complete. We have been in conversation with a number of lending institutions, who have expressed an interest in supporting this effort. However, none have yet made the final commitment to allow the purchase to move forward. We are optimistic that one of our lending institutions will soon step up to allow us to complete the deal and improve our EMS fleet."

When Charles LeDuff did a follow-up, one year after he highlighted the problems of  Detroit EMS, he raised a question if the ambulances were ordered in this December 2011 article:

One Year Later: Detroit's EMS System Still in Need of a Cure:

Last night WDIV/NBC4 reported that the city has been operating with as few as 10 ambulances in the past five days:

Detroit EMS reportedly short on units

The ambulances have 175,000 to 200,000 miles. The Fire Commissioner is still looking for funding to purchase replacement units.

Groundhog Day

Bill "Firegeezer" Schumm did an August 24, 2010 post: "A Rotating Cycle of Hopeleness …" that provided a bleak picture of Detroit EMS.

At that time the city was staffing 22 units but only getting 14 to 16 on the street. Within the fleet of 45 ambulances, 31 were out-of-service for mechanical reasons. Little evidence any repair or maintenance work was being done.

What is different in 2013

City is contracting with private ambulance companies to handle the less urgent requests.

Local business donated and installed GPS tracking.

The warehouse has toilet paper and blankets from earlier high-profile events that generated citizen donations.

And a donated 1983 aerial tower that has been warehoused for over a year and never deployed.

Mike "Fossilmedic" Ward

This morning:

Scott Ziegler

Last night while you slept, squad 4 rescued 2 kids from a burning house and transported them with the fire truck to the ER doing CPR en route….because there were no EMS rigs available…no EMS rigs available.


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