Mismanagement? I never would have guessed…

My morning news update included this little gem:

Detroit Council Finds Mismanagement Cripples City’s EMS

Mismanagement cripples Detroit’s EMS system? Really?

I never would have guessed.

They said that they have the money to hire the 57 people needed to fully staff EMS, but have yet to do so because they “can’t find enough people.”

I’ve heard this excuse before… only it was in Memphis. My current position is a result of a relaxing of the residency requirement, which caused an employment EXPLOSION of paramedics in Memphis. Memphis went from being a Detroit like system with only a fraction of the medics needed to work the system, guys working double and triple overtime just to keep it above water. Those guys are veterans of a crippled system, and most are happy to say that things now are better than they were 6 or 10 years ago.

Detroit has a residency requirement, requiring city employees to live IN Detroit. Could this be the reason that they can’t find people. I’m sure it is part of it, aside from low pay, hard hours, terrible working conditions, and just general apathy towards their hardest working and busiest part of the City of Detroit and the Detroit Fire Department.

The next problem the genius council members came up with was that the DFD was sending ambulances to non-emergencies. Now, this is something that has been addressed in other cities (they should go look at Cleveland) with some success. Computer aided dispatching and medical priority dispatching has been able to help with prioritizing calls for EMS to respond to. It doesn’t help that EMS gets no help from the fire department, and I’m not even sure that Detroit firefighters are EMT’s, but they should be.

I have a some simple solutions for Detroit, which I’ve withheld judgement until now, but this is too much now:

1) Cross train firefighters as EMT’s, require new firefighters to obtain and maintain EMT certification

2) send fire apparatus on EMS calls

3) Drop or expand your residency rule (archaic and unnecessary, if Memphis can expand theirs, you can do the same)

4) HIRE PARAMEDICS AND EMT’S. If you have the money, then there is no reason not to.

5) See #3

Detroit, Memphis isn’t perfect, but we were in your shoes not too long ago. I’m sure that you could arrange a visit to Memphis, which our administration would surely be happy to accept. Send us your field staff, I’ll even let them ride with me.