Fire union questions private EMS for wounded firefighter transport

The union president wants Detroit EMS to respond rather than private EMS

By FireRescue1 Staff


DETROIT — The decision by a private ambulance crew to transport a wounded police officer to a farther hospital has caused an uproar.

Detroit News reported that after a private EMS crew treated a Detroit officer who had been shot in the face responding to a domestic violence call, they drove him to a hospital. However, the choice to transport the officer to a farther hospital has been under fire.

Rapid Response has defended their decision, arguing they took the fastest route to the hospital. Rapid Response CEO Tommy Widmer said the incident is being “twisted.”

Recently, Detroit Fire Fighters Association union president Mike Nevin sent a letter to Fire Commissioner Eric Jones questioning if private EMS companies should continue to transport wounded firefighters.

Rapid Response was also involved with another controversy in October, in which a Rapid Response EMT was accused of giving  hospital staff incorrect information about a wounded Detroit firefighter.

Following that incident, fire officials sent out an email saying that Detroit firefighters “will be transported by Detroit EMS only.”

Jones sent an email last week clarifying the department’s policy.

“Detroit Emergency Medical Services will stage, and transport if necessary, for all incidents where we know in advance that there is a potential need for medical care, such as requests by the incident commander at box alarms, commercial box alarms or any other event that the [incident commander] deems appropriate for staging [Detroit EMS],” Jones wrote. “This will also apply for requests by [Detroit police] at the scene of barricaded persons, etc. On the other hand, if you are critically wounded or injured I have directed [dispatchers] to send the nearest medical resource.”

Jones said the issue with Rapid Response in October has “nothing to do with their overall ability to provide care.”

Nevin requested a private meeting with Jones, concerned that Jones had rescinded the order that Detroit firefighters be transported by Detroit EMS only.

Jones denied he rescinded his order.

“All I said is that if someone is injured, we’ll use the nearest medical resource, which is common sense,” Jones said. “I’m not going to make an injured firefighter wait when there’s another ambulance available. That doesn’t even make sense. Why would I put our people in danger like that?”