Renegade fire department illegally saved baby, says private ambulance firm

There is a certain breed of human being who gets off on insisting that privatized businesses are always better than public organizations that provide the same services. There is no objective basis for this claim, despite the fact that its adherents form a Venn diagram with the "facts don't care about your feelings!" school of bullshit rhetoric. Unfortunately, these some people tend to find figureheads with money and influence, who will god damn make sure that their privatized version of something that should be affordable and accessible to everyone is absolutely better than the public alternative — and they will do so at absolutely any cost.

(To be clear, this doesn't mean that public services are always going to be inherently superior to privatized ones, either. Just that the "government is always bad!" types are willfully ignorant of demonstrable reality.)

Case-in-point: the Prescott Valley area of Arizona, where a privatized for-profit ambulance company called Life Line Ambulance has a monopoly on the ambulatory services for the 150,000 people who live in the area. Life Line has locked the local government into restrictive contracts in order to ensure the sanctity of their own shitty business. But because they have no competition, they have no incentive to actually provide timely and helpful ambulance services.

In case of emergency, this … can kind of suck. So the local fire department, the Central Arizona Fire and Medical Authority — egads, a public government service! — has been known to take it upon themselves to save lives when Life Life can't make it work for their bottom line.

But see, a government service saving human lives is a violation of Life Line's legally-binding monopolistic contract with the local government. And we can't have that, no sirree.

On August 20, 2021, an 8-month old baby fell into a bathtub in Chino Valley, Arizona and stopped breathing. Life Line said it would take them nearly 15 minutes to get there. So the Central Arizona Fire and Medical Authority rushed to the scene in minutes, helicoptered the girl to the nearby Phoenix Children's hospital, and saved her life. So now Life Line is suing. From the local ABC News affiliate:

The fire department believes the private company's response times are regularly too slow and that there aren't enough ambulances in service.

So in defiance of the state health department, CAFMA uses a fleet of its own unofficial ambulances, which it calls "Rescues," to respond to calls when firefighters feel Life Line's units are too far away.


In recent months, Life Line has started filing written complaints with the state health department against CAFMA for the unapproved "Rescue" transports, records show. (CAFMA has also filed more than 1,000 complaints against Life Line going back years.)

As a result, the state has issued CAFMA multiple notices of investigation for many incidents dating back into summer.

Please file this under "Are you fucking kidding me."

Firefighters who used backup ambulance to rescue a baby now under investigation [Dave Biscobing / ABC 15]

Image: Public Domain via PxHere