Detroit EMS rigs donated to city still sitting unused

Rigs parked behind Detroit's 911 dispatch center; EMS drivers say they have staffing to use rigs

Author: Lisa Ray, Managing Editor, ClickOnDetroit.com, @ClickOnLisa, lray@wdiv.com
Published On: Dec 17 2013 04:24:53 PM EST   Updated On: Dec 17 2013 05:33:19 PM EST
New donated Detroit EMS rigs sitting unused
DETROIT -

About two weeks ago, 13 new ambulances were handed to Detroit. Where are they now?

They’re not in use, not on the street and not in service.

On Tuesday morning, on the city's east side, a man was hurt in a fire on Ashley Street. Firefighters had to wait 20 minutes for an ambulance to arrive. Instead, they told 911 dispatchers they would take the man to the hospital themselves.

Detroit EMS Response time is supposed to greatly improve with the addition of 23 brand new, high tech ambulances donated to the city. However, only nine EMS units -- some of them old and unreliable ambulances -- were on the street Tuesday night. 

There was quite a lot of fanfare when the final 13 ambulances were delivered to the city 13 days ago. So why were there only nine ambulances on duty? Where are the 13 news ambulances donated by corporations such as Penske Corp., Blue Cross Blue Shield, Chrysler, Ford, GM, Quicken Loans, The Kresge Foundation, Platinum Equity and Shinola? 

Local 4 found them parked behind the city’s 911 dispatch center.  They were collecting snow and were plowed in. 

EMS drivers are furious. They said they have the staffing to get the rigs on the street saving lives. 

The city's chief compliance officer Gary Brown says the rigs have to be inspected and licensed by the state.  It hasn’t happened. The check to pay for the inspection is in the mail.  Meanwhile, the rigs sit, unused. 

Brown blames Detroit business as usual in what should be an emergency to get the rigs in service. He told Local 4 it is an emergency he'll have the rigs inspected and on the street in 48 hours. 

The state inspects the ambulances and told Local 4 the regional coordinator was given the go ahead late Tuesday afternoon to schedule the inspections on the new ambulances.