Ambulance shortage has Cleveland using SUVs instead

Ambulance shortage has Cleveland using SUVs instead
Out-of-service EMS ambulance (Source: WOIO)
Out-of-service EMS ambulance (Source: WOIO)

The City of Cleveland does not have enough ambulances to put on the streets so don't be shocked if you see an SUV pull up to your front door if you have an emergency.

19 Action News Investigative Reporter Scott Taylor has learned the city has taken SUVs driven by EMS supervisors and turned them into mini-ambulances.

"Ideally, we would have 18 ambulances. We are making up the difference with two SUVs," says Ken Silliman, the Chief of Staff for Mayor Frank Jackson.

Sources tell 19 Action News that the city is sometimes using as many as three SUVs as mini-ambulances, and some days only run a total of 14 ambulances on the streets.

The SUVs are equipped to handle any type of medical emergency but if you cannot walk you might have to wait for an available ambulance, which our sources say could take up to an hour.

19 Action News found four ambulances out of service at the city's garage.

"There are several ambulances that are in the shop," says Silliman.

City Hall has ordered four new ambulances, but they won't arrive until 2016.

The city is buying two refurbished ambulances to add to the fleet which should arrive in a couple of months.

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