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Mich. FD launches ambulance service to reduce response times

The Flint Fire Department ambulance is funded by opioid settlement dollars instead of tax dollars

By Bill Carey

FLINT, Mich. — The Flint Fire Department is placing its own ambulance in service to reduce response times for city residents.

Due to a regional shortage of ambulances, Flint residents frequently face prolonged waits for emergency medical transportation. Genesee County 911 regularly operates in “crisis mode,” often with just one ambulance available for the entire 600-square-mile area, the city stated in a press release.

The ambulance will be ready to handle Flint emergencies once approved by the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services and Genesee County Medical Control Authority, which will review an application in June, WJRT reported.

“There have been times when our crews waited for 30 minutes to an hour for an ambulance to arrive at the scene of an emergency,” Flint Fire Chief Theron Wiggins said. “This is an unacceptable situation, and I know this ambulance service is going to save lives.”

The ambulance, costing approximately $225,000, is financed with opioid settlement funds instead of tax dollars.

“It’s time for our community to have a level of self-determination when it comes to emergency medical response,” Mayor Sheldon Neeley said. “We cannot continue to totally rely on private ambulance services that have no obligation and sometimes even lack the capacity to station ambulances in the city of Flint.”