Detroit EMS – A System in Failure

I’ve been watching this story ever since I became aware of the problem in Detroit, and wow, this is tough to keep up with.

If you want the short version of the story associated with this, watch this video from Fox Detroit

20+ minutes for an ambulance to show up? Incredible. Especially for the incidents mentioned at the beginning of the video, 6 firefighters injured in a collapse? Children pulled from house fires? Ridiculous.

As a fire department, Detroit is sure to say they abide by NFPA 1710, which is the emergency response standard for full time career fire departments. The concensus standard states that full time departments should be able to deploy fire based ALS first responders in 6 minutes and an ambulance within 8 minutes.

Now Detroit doesn’t send a fire engine or truck to EMS calls. You would figure that with appalling response times they would send someone, at least… is Detroit in denial, or is their fire department administration apathetic to EMS? I know Detroit has a fire problem, with the high rate of poverty and thousands of abandoned buildings they see more fire in a day than most departments see in a month, but 20+ minutes with no first responder? It makes me sick.

If you were wondering who the guys in the video are, one is the EMS union president. They were subsequently disciplined after this hit the news, read the story here: http://www.emsdailynews.com/?p=6631

Retaliation or true discipline? Judging from what I’ve seen, I’ll choose the latter.

If you work for the Detroit Fire Department in either fire or EMS email me directly, I want to talk.

This article was written by rstine