GFD facing ambulance shortage due to maintenance issues


Three ambulances went down in the last week.

Guam – 
The Guam Fire Department is facing an ambulance shortage with only five working ambulances as of Wednesday morning.

GFD Spokeswoman Cherika Chargualaf confirmed for PNC the deficient number is because of maintenance issues.  She notes GFD has a total of 10 ambulances in their fleet with 8 that are dedicated to be in use while 2 are reserved as backup.

However, in recent weeks those two backup units had to be used because two other ambulances went down. Worse yet, while the two nonoperational units went in for maintenance, three more ambulances went down — leaving GFD with only 5 working ambulances.  Chargualaf says these three units had air conditioning problems in the patient area, which rendered them inoperative since working air conditioning in the patient area is required.

“This is a rare occasion when multiple units go down at the same time, however repairs are ongoing and we expect recovery shortly,” said Chargualaf.

This is not the first time that GFD has experienced an ambulance shortage. At one point in 2011, the island only had two working ambulances, a predicament that led to many dire situations, including one in which a mother gave birth prematurely while waiting nearly two hours for an ambulance, resulting in her newborn baby’s death.

The crisis compelled the governor, lt. governor and lawmakers to expedite the procurement of more ambulances for the island.

Chargualaf later updated PNC, to explain one of the downed ambulances was back up and running by Wednesday afternoon, which means they now have six units in service.

She added that their federal counterparts are aware of the situation and have offered their support if needed.