Guam serviced by four ambulances - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Guam serviced by four ambulances

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by Nick Delgado

Guam - On Monday KUAM News reported about the Guam Fire Department having only two ambulances available for the entire island. That number hasn't changed much, and the problem is becoming a growing concern for residents. "We called the ambulance and they were actually late to come pick them up, it took about half hour to an hour...it's bad," said James Salas.

He's one of the few we spoke with about the ambulance problem on the island. With only four operating - one each in Yigo, Barrigada, Inarajan and Piti today - Salas fears what he calls a dangerous situation. Resident Johnathan Simbulan echoes those feelings, saying, "It would be better to just go and drive whoever or your family member then having to wait for them because they take forever."

GFD Spokesperson Captain Andy Arceo says they do receive mutual aid from the military to help augment the shortage. However, they still have problems with maintaining the fleet. In February the Governor's Office released $200,000 from DPW's highway bond to go towards ambulance repairs, and now months later the medics continue to break down.

Arceo said that money "was to upkeep the fleet that we did have, now we are coming up with other problems after the money's been spent, but fortunately enough we have the money for these basic repairs."

A band-aid fix for the existing fleet. Arceo says units are currently awaiting parts at several repair shops, noting, "As soon as the parts come in all the shops have assured us that they would put it out on priority and get those medics back out."

In the meantime, a solution that could help GFD overcome the ambulance shortage remains in negotiations. Arceo confirms they are currently in talks with two companies that sent in proposals for the ambulance billing fee system - one is off-island company Life Quest, the other is the Saipan-based Marianas Medical Claims.

Arceo does say they are working to have a fourth ambulance running for the northern part of the island by the end of today.

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