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Detroit firefighters are saving more lives, thanks to medical training program

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan speaking to media, surrounded by Detroit firefighters.
Bryce Huffman
Michigan Radio
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan speaking to media, surrounded by Detroit firefighters.

Detroit firefighters are responding to medical emergencies, Mayor Mike Duggan announced Thursday.

Duggan launched a medical training program for firefighters two years ago. Since then, firefighters have responded to more 30,000 medical runs, nearly half of all the city's life-threatening calls.

Duggan says firefighters are the first to arrive to emergencies 60% of the time, frequently keeping patients alive until paramedics arrive.

“12,000 times last year, our firefighters were the first ones to get to the scene on a "code one" ahead of the ambulances to stabilize a patient,” Duggan said.

Duggan is also proud that the average response time for calls has dropped since 2015. “We are going to get our response times down to the national average, which is around eight minutes,” Duggan said.

Detroit’s average response time for life-threatening medical runs went down from nearly 11 minutes to around eigh- and-a-half minutes.  When Duggan took office in 2014, the average response time was nearly 20 minutes.

Eric Jones, chief of the city's fire department, believes cooperation with EMS is important to the initiative's success.

“Any of the life-threatening runs, EMS and firefighters are responding as a team,” Jones said.

Jones says all 871 Detroit Fire personnel have been medically trained. Over 600 of them are now certified to make medical runs.

Bryce Huffman was Michigan Radio’s West Michigan Reporter and host of Same Same Different. He is currently a reporter for Bridge Detroit.
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