Detroit EMS Frustrated with Conditions

Detroit EMS responds to an average of 350 calls every day. Each has its own set of challenges, but delivering emergency services has become more difficult as diminished staff, dwindling resources and an out-of-date bureaucracy has frustrated EMS employees.

EMS has been hit hard, like Detroit police and firefighters who are struggling to absorb budget cuts — the Bing administration has imposed a 10 percent across-the-board pay cut on all city employees, including first responders.

Problems include staffers leaving for better-paying, less-stressful private sector jobs; aging, broken-down ambulances with no money to fix them; and an increasing number of poor, underinsured residents who call 911 in non-emergency situations.

EMS came under fire after detractors questioned response time following the alleged suicide July 19 of a 9-year-old who fell out of a nine-story window in an apartment complex on Detroit’s east side.A unit left one minute and 20 seconds after the call, but got to the scene 12 minutes later, said EMS Superintendent Jerald James. Police arrived 4½ minutes after the call, picked up the boy and halted EMS, he said.

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