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Detroit To Change 911 Response Policy

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DETROIT (WWJ) - Detroit’s EMS department wants to improve its performance by beefing up their staff and focusing on serious emergencies only.

Interim Deputy Fire Commissioner Fred Wheeler said Detroit will soon be adopting a new emergency response policy.

“The Mayor will be rolling out a new policy as it relates to screening out low priority calls,” Wheeler said. “And that will mean that people who truly need the service, will benefit from the service, that there will be a rig for available them.”

According to Wheeler, as it stands now, Detroit’s 911 system gets tied up with too many calls for things that aren’t very serious.

“Callers who request service for things like tooth aches, boils, sleeping disorders, things of that nature. People call EMS for that,” Wheeler said.

Detroit’s EMS department wants to make sure their time is spent responding only to the most serious calls.

“We responded to those calls, and that’s why we’re changing our response policy such that we won’t be required to respond to calls like that. Instead, we will offer the caller an alternative,” Wheeler said.

By alternatives, Wheeler explained they will give the caller other resources to contact for help with their complaint.

More bodies on the job will help improve the system as well. EMS Chief Jerald James said 15 new EMTs will graduate today.

“They’ll be on the road for evaluation on Monday. Hopefully within a few weeks we’ll have them certified and ready to go. We are now preparing for another academy that will start in June,” James said.

 On Thursday, Wheeler revealed Detroit’s plan to purchase 16 new emergency vehicles by the end of this year, with intentions to get another 16 after that.

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