CLEVELAND (WJW) — The FOX 8 I-Team has found the City of Cleveland cutting back on overtime to keep EMS units running even as we’ve revealed chronic shortages of ambulances on the streets.
An internal memo shows the city has lowered the number of ambulances it will try to keep on your streets on days when staffing is short.
Years ago, voters approved a tax increase, in part, to have more ambulances rolling.
The city has had a target of 25 ambulances during the day and 21 at night.
However, we’ve revealed EMS frequently does not have the staffing for that. And, that commonly leads to delays in response time even for some of the most critical calls.
Now, a memo says, “Moving forward field overtime will only be granted or mandated to reach 23 units during the day and 19 at night.”
The memo does not explain the reason for the change.
We reached out twice to EMS for comment, and, ultimately, we were told to file a public records request. Those requests have to go through the Law Department, and they frequently take weeks or months to get processed.
The city has said, in the past, when EMS is short-staffed, it goes to what’s called “dynamic stationing”, stationing ambulances around the city in such a way that no area is left uncovered. Yet, the I-Team has exposed repeated examples of ambulances having to travel from one end of town to the other to get to top priority emergency calls.