The Local 4 Defenders go on a scary ride with Detroit’s EMS crews to ask the question: Does management have their back?
It’s after dark in the Motor City and Detroit EMS crews are on the move.
As soon the radio sounds, they’re off on a run that could save a life, but many times their lives are on the line, too.
When they get to a scene, are they safe?
Jeff Gaglio is on one of Detroit’s EMS crews, who work under broken street lights and near vacant buildings. Gaglio said there’s little police back up and he worries about being ambushed. He said he knows of crews being assaulted, mugged or even things stolen out of ambulances while they are on scenes.
James Lacroix said he's been shot at on the job. Miraculously, the bullets missed Lacroix but hit the medic who was working on an innocent young girl.
Another time, Lacroix said, a knife fight broke out at a scene.
EMS crew members the Defenders talked to said they don't carry any type of weapons while they work -- not even Mace. When emergency radios go out, EMS crews rely on their personal cell phones to communicate. The crew members said they've had little direction on what to do from their supervisors.
Raymond Birch said crews have been dealing with failing rigs. He said he's had a rig die on the street while on the way to an overdose scene. What did he do? He got out and ran ... and ended up saving a young man's life.
But there is hope for the men and women who put their safety at risk to help others on the streets of Detroit. There's a handful of new EMS rigs, shiny and new, being rolled out on the street -- all thanks to some wealthy area businessmen.