Local Connection: Ambulance Shortage - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Local Connection: Ambulance Shortage

(Image: Hawaii News Now) (Image: Hawaii News Now)

One of the most chilling pictures we've seen in recent years was the endless line of ambulances for victims of the Las Vegas shooting.

In Hawaii, putting that many ambulances together for a catastrophic event would be impossible.

On Oahu — which is home to a million people and host to another quarter million tourists on any given day — there are only 20 city and county ambulances. Boston, which has fewer residents, has 35 municipal ambulances. On the neighbor islands, the ratio of ambulances to population is better, but they have a lot more ground to cover.

It's also been made much worse on Oahu by the homeless crisis, which has increased the call volume dramatically. 

This is a truly life and death situation and it's been well documented and known to lawmakers for years. But somehow, it hasn't been a priority.  

It's hard to imagine what could be a higher priority.

The money for the service comes from the state and many of the calls are reimbursed by insurance.

So this is truly not an issue that should continue any longer than the next legislative session.

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