Detroit EMS, ambulance teams to aid homeless

Detroit expecting brutal sub-zero temps

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DETROIT - People left out in the cold over the next few days will get some help keeping warm.

With dangerous cold headed to Metro Detroit on Monday and Tuesday, CEMS ambulances and a special 20-person medical "Rehab Unit" will be deployed to help homeless people throughout Metro Detroit.

"If we can save one person from a night of cold, or give them something to eat or drink and sustain life, then I want to be there to do that," said Janine Beauchemin, a volunteer.

Hot drinks, blankets and up to seven trained EMS workers will be on board, checking for signs of frostbite and hypothermia.

Starting Monday morning around 6 a.m., anyone who sees a homeless person in need of help is encouraged to phone the Parastar/CEMS call center toll-free at 800-343-4427. Dispatchers at the call center will send the Rehab Unit or an ambulance to help the person in need.

"The shelters are places of refuge for everybody and excellent resources," Director Kevin Bersche said. "But with this unit being mobile, we can get to where people are that have these critical needs."

In addition, Parastar/CEMS is accepting donations of blankets and jackets that its EMS/EMT teams can distribute to the homeless in Metro Detroit over the next few days. If you would like to donate blankets or jackets, please go to the CEMS building at 25400 W. 8 Mile Road in Southfield (between Telegraph and Beech Daly).

CEMS provides ambulances and other medical transportation services 24 hours a day, seven days a week throughout Metro Detroit. Their vehicles and medical teams are dispatched from the call/communications center on 8 Mile Road.

The rehab unit is just over a year old. During Hurricane Sandy, the not-for-profit sent buses to new Jersey. With a severe weather event forecast for Michigan, they're being used right here in Detroit.

"When we go out, there's going to be people that have nowhere to go and we want to get them where they will be safe," Janine said.

If you have questions, contact Greg Beauchemin, Parastar/CEMS CEO at 248-798-9272 or, or Roger Martin at 517-676-5218 or

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