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DFD adds 11 private ambulances to raise Detroit’s service level to a record 40 ambulances on the road this summer

2023
  • Emergency contract with Universal Macomb Ambulance Service will increase company’s support level from an average of 7 ambulances per day to an average of up to 18

  • Combined with DFD’s 22 ambulances, the four-month contract will expand the city’s service level to up to 40 ambulances, the largest number in Detroit in decades. 

The Detroit Fire Department is in the process of transforming the department to a national model where all employees will be dual-trained in both fire and EMS services. In the short term, however, the training demands of full time EMS staff as firefighters and their conversion to dual-role had the potential to reduce the number of full-time EMS staff on the street during this transition.

To prevent that, Executive Fire Commissioner Chuck Simms  announced today that the Detroit Fire Department has entered into a four-month emergency contract with Macomb Universal Ambulance Services (MUAS), increasing to 18 the number of ambulances the company will put in service on Detroit streets.  That contract is an increase from the 7 ambulances MUAS already provides.  This supplements the 22 ambulances DFD puts on the road each day with its own staff, giving Detroit up to 40 ambulances on the street on a daily basis this summer.  “This will be the largest number of ambulances on the street serving Detroiters that we have seen in decades,” Simms said.

“We expect this to be a short-term transitional measure,” Simms said. “We currently have a class of 40 cadets that will graduate next month.  In July, the next academy will start and we expect an additional 70-100 new cadets joining the department by the end of the year.”

The $500,000 contract began this week and runs through September, to cover what are traditionally the busiest months of the year for 911 calls. The combined number of DFD and private ambulances responding to 911 calls will grow from approximately 30 to 40 as a result of this contract.

“The men and women of Detroit EMS are the hardest working group in America”, Simms said.  “Currently, Detroit EMS rigs have a utilization rate of 65-70%, which is far above the national average of 40%.  The additional 11 ambulances will ease the heavy workload for our own EMTs and Paramedics to provide better service for the residents of Detroit.”

“Detroit has some of the finest medics anywhere, but we don’t want to run the risk of burning them out, which could compromise their own well being and diminish the level of service they can provide,” Simms said.  “We’ve spoken to our union leadership about the need for this additional support and they were supportive of these plans.”

At the end of the four-month contract, the need for continued additional outside support will be re-evaluated, Simms said.