Back in June, Fire Commissioner Don Austin got an up close look at what's mainly to blame for Detroit's poor EMS response times -- staff stretched thin and broken rigs, some that break down almost daily because of bad engines, bad breaks and ambulances so over miles they should have been out of service miles ago.
"We're going to partner, and we're going to make it better. Promise you," he said back then.
Shortly after Austin was appointed, he made a lot of promises -- more training, more man power and new trucks.
"January at the latest, we're going to have 22 new ambulances on the street," he said.
FOX 2 has learned Austin has delivered on one promise -- more people. There are nearly 220 EMT's ready to hit the streets. The problem? There are not enough working trucks for EMT's to ride in.
Sources told FOX 2's Taryn Asher that last week the union asked Austin about the status of those 22 trucks he promised would be in service by January? Austin admitted they hadn't even been ordered.
Custom medic trucks take, at minimum, six months from the order date to hit the streets. If ordered tomorrow, it would be at least March before they would be responding to your 911 call.
When Asher asked the city about the hold up, Mayor Dave Bing's office issued this statement:
"The city continues to work to obtain the necessary funds to secure the new rigs. The specifications for the vehicles are complete. The bidding process is complete. We have been in conversation with a number of lending institutions, who have expressed an interest in supporting this effort. However, none have yet made the final commitment to allow the purchase to move forward. We are optimistic that one of our lending institutions will soon step up to allow us to complete the deal and improve our EMS fleet."
It appears Detroit is dealing with so many financial issues that banks won't even lend it money for the rigs. So, until the funding goes through, there will be bandages for the broken trucks, but temporary fixes still cost the city thousands of dollars.
WJBK-TV | Fox 2
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