Leaders try to solve GFD's gear shortage woes - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Leaders try to solve GFD's gear shortage woes

Posted: Updated:

by Nick Delgado

Guam - The island currently has about half of its ambulance fleet up and running today. While residents have expressed major concern about the ongoing shortage, lawmakers are stepping in hoping to resolve the matter.

"Time is of an essence should there be an emergency, a critical case where the survival of a patient is dependent on the response time," noted Melissa Savares, the mayor of Dededo.  With time being the difference between life and death, it's no wonder the critical shortage of working ambulances have the municipal leader concerned.  After all, she's in charge over the island's most populous village. 

Just recently, a medic from Umatac had to respond to an emergency in her village.  Currently there is no medic stationed in Dededo.  On Monday there were only four medics up and running to serve the island's population of more than 170,000 residents.  Today, there are six - stationed in Yigo, Tamuning and Barrigada, Agat, Umatac and Inarajan.

According to GFD Spokesperson Joey San Nicolas aside from relying on mutual aide from the military, the fire department is hoping to get two more medics out of the shop by the end of this week and purchase two more ambulances by August, and five more in November by using federal grants.  "These are the plans that are in affect and unfortunately there's a timeline that we have to adhere to and wait for. We welcome any type of assistance that they can offer us," San Nicolas said.

The assistance he's talking about comes after Senator Ray Tenorio sent a letter to GFD oversight chair Senator Adolpho Palacios requesting that he get to the bottom of this issue. Palacios says he will hold a roundtable with GFD sometime next week.  "I know they need money, now the only area that I can find a little fault on there part is why have they not fully implement the ambulance fees, there is money there and it goes to the flame funds," he explained.

In fact, San Nicolas says one of the units went down for several hours last night. And although he says they were able to get it running again, resident's like Vergilio Rojas has some definite concerns, saying, "I think that's not comfortable to have shortage of ambulances on the island, I think there's many people her on Guam got sick and there suppose to call the ambulance and the shortage is not enough for the people."

While Fire Chief Dave Peredo feels the shortage does not call for a state of emergency, Mayor Savares is concerned that they may not be able to accommodate the large and continuously growing population in the north.  "Time is of the essence should there be an emergency, a critical case where the survival of a patient is dependent on the response time," she reiterated.

For the time being, GFD now has ambulances at the Yigo, Tamuning and Barrigada fire stations to service the north, and units at Agat, Umatac and Inarajan for the south.

It is important to note that all GFD firefighters are EMT-certified, which means they can provide the same care to patients. However, an ambulance is needed in order for a patient to be transported to the hospital.

  • NEWS HEADLINESMore>>

  • Gas mask in game room leads to drug arrests

    Gas mask in game room leads to drug arrests

    Four men face drug charges after one of them was spotted inside a local game room wearing a gas mask. It definitely raised some eyebrows and resulted in a call to police. Allen James Roberto, Brandon Rufus Chandler, and Daniel Suk Degracia are charged witMore >>
    Four men face drug charges after one of them was spotted inside a local game room wearing a gas mask. It definitely raised some eyebrows and resulted in a call to police. Allen James Roberto, Brandon Rufus Chandler, and Daniel Suk Degracia are charged witMore >>
  • Congressman says emergency declaration could take $750M in Guam buildup funds

    Congressman says emergency declaration could take $750M in Guam buildup funds

    Nearly $750 million in funding for Guam's military buildup may be in jeopardy. In an announcement on his social media page Wednesday, Congressman Michael San Nicolas said President Trump's emergency declaration, which is aimed at building a southern bordeMore >>
    Nearly $750 million in funding for Guam's military buildup may be in jeopardy. In an announcement on his social media page Wednesday, Congressman Michael San Nicolas said President Trump's emergency declaration, which is aimed at building a southern bordeMore >>
  • TakeCare continues GMH-only push for GovGuam

    TakeCare continues GMH-only push for GovGuam

    Local Health Insurance company TakeCare is urging lawmakers not to pass a bill that provides Government of Guam workers with coverage at both local hospitals. The company said the government simply cannot afford it. The measure by Speaker Tina Muna BarnesMore >>
    Local Health Insurance company TakeCare is urging lawmakers not to pass a bill that provides Government of Guam workers with coverage at both local hospitals. The company said the government simply cannot afford it. The measure by Speaker Tina Muna BarnesMore >>
Powered by Frankly