MILWAUKEE - In less than 170 days, Milwaukee will lose one of three private ambulance services at a time when 911 calls are at an all-time high.
During an Ambulance Service Board meeting Monday, May 10, Milwaukee Fire Department officials presented possible solutions on the looming ambulance shortage.
"We do need to be moving with urgency on this," said Chief Aaron Lipski.
"Staffing and labor is everybody’s challenge, and we share in that," said Ed Matteson, Midwest Medical.
In April, Midwest Medical which owns Paratech Ambulance told Chief Lipski they are terminating their contract. They primarily service the northwest side of Milwaukee.
"We’re committed to seeing this through the end of our notice period and working as cooperatively and with as much conjunction as we can with the fire department," said Matteson.
One of the short-term ideas shared involves two MFD ambulances dedicated to lower-level calls. These ambulances would be based out of the north and west sides of Milwaukee.
"We’ve had discussions with UW-Milwaukee," said Joshua Parish, Milwaukee Fire Department.
Two mid-to-long-term solutions include recruiting college students eligible for EMS training and even reaching out to students at Milwaukee Public Schools for a career in EMS by the time they graduate.
There are also conversations on how incoming federal aid from the White House could bring a solution to the problem.
Chief Lipski said the department needs a solution sooner than later.
"Call volumes are already straining the entire system, public and private, in a matter that I don’t think any of us have ever experienced in our career," he said.