The Detroit News rode with Detroit EMS to find out just how badly things are going.
Things have been going poorly in Detroit for quite a while, especially with the slow demise of the Big Three, but it seems that ambulances are taking quite some time to get to calls.
Over the past month, the troubled Detroit Fire Department has found itself trying to convince an angry public that it has not abandoned them. The latest debacle was a windblown inferno that torched at least 70 homes across the city. It was so bad that an 11-year-old dressed in a T-shirt and sneakers was pulling hose for the overwhelmed Fire Department. Firefighters from Warren, Dearborn and Grosse Pointe were called in. Mayor Bing passed it off as a natural disaster.
But even before the fires, the competence of the department was called into question after a string of blunders in the past month related to its ambulance service. In August, firefighters from Engine 50 pulled two victims from a burning building. They requested two ambulances. No units available, they were told. A man cut off his toes with a lawn mower. Again, no unit available. Most shocking, perhaps, occurred when a building collapsed on six firefighters, half of whom were taken to the hospital in squad cars and fire trucks because there were no ambulances on the scene. If that is how people in uniform are treated, imagine what it is like for the average citizen in the dark of night.
“No units available” is something I hear all the time, but our situation is nowhere as bad as Detroit’s. I feel for their crews.