BALTIMORE — Equipment issues at the Baltimore City Fire Department are causing longer response times and delays in getting patients to the hospital, said the president of a local firefighter's union.
“It’s just another long line of issues are members our facing,” Rich Langford said who is the president of Baltimore Firefighters IAFF Local 734.
Langford said staffing shortages have already overwhelmed the department, but he said equipment issues are now putting an even greater strain on staff and the department’s operations.
“It puts even more stress on an already stressed system,” he said.
Langford said fire trucks and ambulances have broken down over the past few weeks.
He said four EMS units have been out of service since this past weekend.
“The department took the members usually assigned to those units and placed them in marked SUVS. They respond to calls for help with all the right equipment. The only thing they can’t do is transport that patient to the hospital,” he said.
Langford said the vehicles need to be fixed or replaced because the equipment issues are causing longer response times and delays in getting patients to the hospital.
“It definitely could put an extended wait time on people who are having major medical issues,” he said. "We take one [unit] out of the mix, two out of the mix, three out of the mix, it makes the system a complete failure again.”
Langford said the lack of funding one of the reasons for the equipment troubles.
He’s now calling on the mayor and city council to work with the union on a plan to address the problems.
“It’s time to stop putting band aids on the problem,” he said.
Baltimore City Fire Department released the following statement on Tuesday:
“While there isn’t a timeline to repair the out of service ambulance repairs, we are responding to calls in a timely fashion, however we have seen some delays in receiving parts for those repairs needed – similar to the rest of the country”