Detroit EMS union president apologizes for response times - KMSP-TV

Detroit EMS union president apologizes for response times

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Joseph Barney Joseph Barney
DETROIT (WJBK) -

Union president Joseph Barney is apologizing on behalf of Detroit EMS taking way too long to get to medical emergencies.

"We're sorry. The men and women of Detroit EMS, the technicians, we're sorry about this. We're sorry we can't get to you in a timely fashion. Trust me, if we could, we would," he said.

"We pretty much run no units available all the time. You have calls that will go an hour, two or three hours without being serviced."

"Generally we're around seven to ten rigs per day right now. At the lowest point last month, we were down to five rigs for the whole city."

"We had a crew the other day did 23 runs. Think about that. 23 runs in twelve hours."

The city has contracted with private ambulances to help, and Detroit EMS is grateful to the brothers in blue. Detroit police officers have been taking people to the hospital because no ambulances can get there.

"The police officers know it's important, and they will transport," said Police Chief James Craig.

He said they have to transport about 50 percent of the injured children encountered by his officers because Detroit EMS can't get there in time.

"This is all-time low for I think the city and for the fire department," Barney said.

We reached out to the fire commissioner for comment, but we have yet to hear back.

A spokesperson for Mayor Dave Bing told us new ambulances are on the way from the business community. The mayor will announce when later this month. However, EMTs still have to be trained to operate them, and they must be maintained.

Until that new fleet of 23 ambulances is up and running, Detroit EMS is asking for help from the public. Don't call unless it's truly an emergency.

"Quite frankly we can't afford to keep responding to all these non emergency calls, especially when you only have seven to ten trucks," Barney said.

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