CLEVELAND (WJW) — The FOX 8 I-TEAM has uncovered an emergency plan to do something about delays when you call for an ambulance.
The I-TEAM has exposed chronic short-staffing in Cleveland EMS. Now, we’ve learned of an emergency plan. Cleveland City Hall is considering hiring part-time paramedics.
City Council Public Safety Chairman Blaine Griffin confirmed, “The administration is in the early stages of trying to figure out how they can hire part-time workers.”
We’ve learned the city is talking about first trying to hire retired or veteran paramedics. That way, EMS would not have to wait for the new hires to go through a long period of training.
The I-TEAM has revealed Cleveland EMS short-staffing and its impact for a very long time.
One day, not long ago, the City had to shut down nearly a third of its ambulances.
Several weeks ago, the City claimed EMS was fully staffed 98 percent of the time.
Finally, just days ago, Safety Director Karrie Howard wrote in an e-mail to Council, EMS is short-staffed “daily.”
Councilman Griffin added, “What I’m more concerned about is response time. Are we staying with that seven to seven and a half minute response time? Listen, the citizen safety is paramount here.”
And, we found another impact of the EMS shortage. Multiple sources say, time and again lately, Cleveland police have just driven people to the hospital from crime scenes in patrol cars instead of waiting for ambulances. Something that had been done before only in extreme cases.
We checked back with Beverly and Anthony Blockum. We met them nearly two years ago when they called 911, and they were told no ambulance was available.
Thursday, they reacted to the news showing the same problem is still happening.
Beverly Olds-Blockum said, “It’s sad as taxpayers,you pay your money, and you expect to have these services. And, it’s worse.”
Anthony Blockum said, “And, here we are two years later, you would expect that it would be fixed.”
He added, “You know, but you would expect as a taxpayer that when you need it, they’re gonna be there.”
The Mayor’s Office had no comment for this story. The EMS union also did not comment.
We’re watching to see if the plan moves ahead since this directly affects your safety.