Ann Arbor firefighters to staff local ambulance in new trial agreement

An Ann Arbor Fire Department truck is parked outside the Forest Avenue Parking Structure, where wet drills are taking place on June 3, 2021. In the distance, more trainings are taking place at University Towers. (Meredith Bruckner)

ANN ARBOR – Ann Arbor firefighters will now staff one Huron Valley Ambulance in a first partnership of its kind in Washtenaw County.

The firefighters will provide basic life support during the trial, which will last six months.

According to a city press release, all firefighters in Ann Arbor are “licensed emergency medical technicians in basic life support.”

As a basic life support agency, AAFD will be able to provide basic life support and ambulance transport when no HVA units are available. Firefighters staffing the ambulance will be individuals who are typically assigned to a non-transport light-rescue vehicle, according to a release.

Staff members assigned to a transport vehicle will see a 3.75% increase to their hourly pay for time worked on transports, as is laid out by a collective bargaining agreement with the International Association of Firefighters. This increase will be covered by AAFD’s current budget.

Regardless of HVA’s reimbursement, the ambulance service with pay the city of Ann Arbor $125 per transport. According to a release, this funding will offset the hourly employee increase for joining a transport team.

“During this trial, each transport will be tracked to enable the city to determine the impact to fire department operations,” Ann Arbor Fire Chief Mike Kennedy said in a statement. “This data will help us to evaluate the success of the six-month trial without incurring the cost of an ambulance. Our ultimate goal is to get patients the emergency care they need and eliminate current transport wait times.”

Should the city opt to launch its own transport ambulance, it would need to purchase a fire department ambulance for roughly $300,000 and become a licensed as an independent basic life support transport agency.

About the Author:

Meredith has worked for WDIV since August 2017 and was voted one of Washtenaw County's best journalists in 2019 by eCurrent's readers. She covers the community of Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in International Broadcast Journalism from City University London, UK.