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City of Flint partners with private ambulance firms

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

The city of Flint is partnering with private ambulance companies in hopes of reducing long wait times. The partnership was announced Thursday.

Flint officials say it's not unusual to wait 20 or 30 minutes for an ambulance in the city.

Sheldon Banks owns one of the two local ambulance firms partnering with Flint.

He says they’ll need time to figure out how to significantly reduce those response times.

“This is really putting a band-aid on a gunshot wound,” said Banks, “But as we grow, I see the response times decreasing significantly.”

The private firms will stage their vehicles at Flint fire stations and police mini-stations in Flint neighborhoods.

Mayor Sheldon Neeley said the partnership comes at no cost to the City of Flint. A non-monetary contract allows the Genesee County 9-1-1 Consortium Board to recognize the agreement between the City of Flint and STAT EMS, as they have for other municipalities and service providers.

“This partnership will bring Flint residents faster service and higher quality service,” Neeley said.

Marc Lund, President & CEO of STAT EMS, says the goal is to respond to priority 1 calls within 8 minutes, 90% of the time. For non-life-threatening priority 2 calls requiring lower-level emergency response, STAT EMS is committed to arriving in 11 minutes or less 80% of the time, not to exceed 15 minutes.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.