A Letter from the Gerbers

Dear Torrance Community,

As our 20 year stretch of serving the citizens of Torrance through responding with the 911 calls comes to an end, our hearts are breaking and our guts are wrenching! I personally know that we at Gerber gave this city the highest priority! Our focus was only on you 24-7.   This seriously worries me with McCormick being that they cover many cities and Torrance will not be their priority! They are not giving you as many ambulances in the city- they are spread out with their other contracts miles away. We gave you 23. They are giving you 5! They contract with LA County which is part of PV. Why did it take them 30 min to get to an injured PV student? That’s why the high school demanded us to attend all football games because McCormick was unreliable! I worry about my friends and family in Torrance!

We have been beat down with false allegations for years! Our training is superior to all others!! We are given the highest ratings from CHP for vehicle inspections and with County EMS! We have been told to operate (not in the best interest of the patient!) by the rules of TFD. We follow those rules and then are told we are “noncompliant”! We spent hundreds of thousands of $$$, to buy their specified equipment, then we’re told to never install it! Their software company would not cooperate with us to link with our system (the one they told us to buy), so we were blamed for that! They told us to purchase a model of rigs that didn’t exist!! That was also our fault!! Our biggest fault was that we were getting to the scene to early!! Yes- we were told that!!

We have done everything to work with TFD but there are people in high positions with their own agenda. Councilman Rizzo commended them but if he knew how they constantly put the citizens at risk for their personal gains- he would handcuff them! We have been told by an operational fire chief (“it’s not about patient care, it’s about the money!) He also told us not to use the closest rig to the scene.

We have fought against these issues and tried to operate with putting the patient first. This is why we have been targeted for years and it’s a crying shame!

The only way McCormick could get us out was to be Dirty!! The guy who runs them is not a medical professional, he is a accountant! He threw money at the fire union and for the candidates who supported the fire union. Well, we never played that game and continued to donate and give back to the city by helping out endless local and non-local charities.

We are so proud of our employees and their exceptional professionalism during the trials and tribulations that TFD has put them through. They all know that they are the best for this city, and that this bid process was tainted. They are the true backbone that has brought the highest level of patient care first and foremost and we have the utmost respect and admiration for them.

Again, I can’t and won’t play those games and now it’s just disgusting that it went down this way!   We here at Gerber are very proud of what we have accomplished over the years and appreciate all the support, letters, and phone calls recently and throughout the years. I have lifelong memories. We will carry on with other transports, but this whole process has changed our outlook on many people and we have to move past the anger and disbelief! We just can’t believe that after all these years of being all encompassed and completely loyal to the city and so involved with many charitable events, that it will definitely be a hole in our life. That of course doesn’t mean that we have stopped giving (Bob just wrote a check today to a charitable organization).

Thank you again Torrance residents for your caring words and concern. Please don’t lose your concern for this city and the activism that is needed now.

26 comments

  • paramedic2244

    Way to go Gerber, bashing another ambulance company for coming up on top. Disrespectful and speaks about the type of person the owner is. As a previous employee of both companies I can honestly say Torrance is in good hands.

    • Anonymous

      I also worked for Gerber and know the Gerber’s personally. The Gerber’s would be the first to congratulate McCormick if this had been truly a fair process and Gerber lost out. But it wasn’t and I wouldn’t call it bashing to point this out. It is nothing personal against the fine crews that work for McCormick. I’m sure they will do their best. I wouldn’t expect anything less from them. But when something walks and quacks like a duck you gotta call it a duck.

      • Anonymous

        Thank you for supporting Gerber! Mc cormick couldnt possibly, doing the math , EVER make Torrance a priority. Its been shown over and over again..not to mention the sole purpose of the owner is NOT patient safety, its all money driven! If they did really care about this city they would jave left well alone…more money to the owner (all he cares about) and who plays so dirty pretending to be honest..on behalf of torrance it makes us scared and angry to loose a 20+ year contract..

    • Anonymous

      What a rude comment paramedic2244! Gerber is exceptionally well run well staffed and above other companies! Torrance and mccorm ick will not be a good mix! You have no clue what has been really going on. As a proffesional you lack tact and compasion..maybe you shouldn’t be responsable for a patients life..you will see the anger from torrances citizens. Gerber was screwed over and ALL here agree..I wouldn’t call McCormick to save my life its a dirty untrustable company that bulllies..better give torrance priority or you’ll see the anger and resentment! Keep buying out people..one day itll come to light!!!

    • Anonymous

      Nice comment a-rod

  • Concerned Citizen

    They must have done something right for the last 23 years!!!

  • Anonymous

    I am so sad and angry that Torrance will loose the BEST 911 provider ita held for over 20 yrs!! TFD dosent like to be beat to the scene by Gerber, yet the ems/paramedic crews CARE about us and to be bullied for being excellent is pathetic! Scared for a money hungry owner and strange crews having the 911 calls..they lack any sort of feelings about their many weaknesses. GERBER FOREVER! I THINK AFTER A COUPLE MOS OF BAD PERFORMANCE WE AS A CITY WILL DEMAND GERBER FOR 911 CONTRACTS AGAIN!!

  • Anonymous

    Very sad when dirty politics wins over human life. To the Gerbers and their employees thank you for all you have done for this city.

  • Anonymous

    It is what it is…nothing lasts forever

  • Another Concerned Citizen

    Thank you, Gerber Ambulance, for serving our City well. I am thankful that my family has not needed your services but if we had, I know we would have gotten the best care possible. I attended last year’s council meeting and watched how the TFD did their best to get McCormick in and Gerber out…shameful. We as Torrance citizens felt safe with Gerber on standby. This is what happens when politics takes precedence.

  • One of the great tragedies in all of this is that the community missed an opportunity to give the Gerber family and their employees the proper thanks and recognition they deserve for their longstanding commitment to serving our citizens in what is often times their greatest hour of need. That is not to mention the many other areas of service to the community they have provided through their charitable endeavors. No matter how one might feel about the contract decision to change to McCormick, I do hope everyone will agree that the Gerber’s deserve a nod of appreciation for being a great community partner over the past several decades. Thank you Gerbers for what you built here in Torrance and how you served our community!!

  • Former Employee

    “Our training is superior to others”?
    “Highest rating from CHP for vehicle inspections”?
    Your training is a supervisor who doesn’t work in the field. This supervisor who sits you in a class for 3 days (if you’re lucky) and reads you slides that have not been updated. Most of the “training” comes from throwing a new hire onto a rig (a rig operated by 2 emt’s, no matter their experience) and expecting them to learn everything in a max 3 day (again if you’re lucky enough to even be trained for 3 days) period. Sometimes the crew that trains the new hire isn’t fully trained themselves.

    Let’s talk about the ambulances. Gerber is notorious for the conditions of their rigs. Broken door handles, almost every single rig has a “check engine” light on, large dents on most rigs, balding tires and broken lights, air conditioning works if you’re lucky, seats and seat handles are torn and shredded, brakes squeak on most rigs, and they never change their oil. They wait until their oil level drops, and then add more oil when the time comes.

    I like how Gerber is being defended with the ideal that “they cared about the patients rather than the money”
    If you worked at Gerber, you know that couldn’t be further from the truth. Gerber was basically not allowed to say no to any calls coming from hospitals asking if they can come pick a patient up and take them home. Sure, that sounds like a good thing, right? There would be nothing wrong with that if Gerber didn’t compromise the coverage of the city to do so. To simplify it: if the city of Torrance decided to blow up on 911 calls (which happens often) then the ambulances that just went on those 911 calls are out of service. Leaving just a few ambulances to now cover the entire city in case more 911 emergency calls came up. Rather than making 911 calls a priority by spreading what little ambulances they have left, they would send one or two to go run a non-emergency call at a hospital. Leaving just 3 (sometimes as little as one) ambulances to cover the entire city. Is that really being concerned for the citizens of Torrance?
    There’s another article floating out there about the controversy between tfd and Gerber and how TFD hates Gerber and purposely makes us respond code 2 so we can arrive later than them. I’ve never had that issue in the years I’ve been working at Gerber. I’ve arrived on scene before TFD has many times and there was no issue. We didn’t have to “stage” before entering a home of a resident who called 911. If we were there first, we were there first, and we provided patient care as needed.
    The only problem Gerber employees would have with tfd is if the Gerber employee was incompetent. Which is actually pretty uncommon considering they’re hiring process.

    I don’t doubt that Gerber ambulance was once a great company with the right priorities and an outstanding training program with an enthusiastic management team.
    As for what Gerber has become today, my only surprise is that this didn’t happen sooner.

  • I thought this message from Robert Gerber was worth posting here.

    From, Robert Gerber,
    As our final day of servicing the City of Torrance is upon us, it is time for me to reflect and to give special thanks to the most important part of our 27 years here, our employees, which have been in the thousands, over these past 27 years. It has been all inspiring to me, to witness your dedication and professionalism to your craft and hard work, which mostly has gone unrecognized as EMT’s, while helping people during their worst times. I came from YOU, and it was one fateful night many moons ago where a young woman’s life was in the balance that I found my calling. Without you, our EMT’s, Paramedics and Critical care Nurses none of this would have been possible. Knowing that your time here has been your launching board for bigger and better things; through Gerber, you have become nurses, physicians and ER doctors, police officers, sheriff’s deputy’s, fish and game wardens, FBI agents, CIA agents, Highway Patrol Officers, Homeland Security officers, military men and women, teachers, heath care administrators, LA City Firemen, LA County Firemen, volunteer Firemen and EVEN Torrance Firemen. So to all my employees, I give cheers to you and your family for your sacrifice, hard work and I am hopeful that a bright future is ahead of you. Patient’s have written thousands of letters over the years thanking you for your dedicated service and kindness. I also want you to know that it shouldn’t go without notice that because of your hard work, Gerber was able to donate our equipment and training for our “First Responder” programs which have benefited people around the world. As long as we have saved one life with our efforts, who can complain? Sincerely and Truly,
    Robert H Gerber .

  • Anonymous

    23 rigs? Yeah, right. Gerber may have owned 23, but the amount of in service is about half that. A-rod or bro-pez nailed it. Gerber WAS ran correctly. About 3 years ago before they lost their ops manager.

    Let’s not forget, TFD is a class 1 professional FD. Shouldn’t be mocked.

    Publishing a wine sip letter like this is highly unprofessional. Horrible on Gerber’s part.

    • Anonymous

      ^^Sounds like Paul Jermica^^

    • Anonymous

      I agree with that statement. The previous ops manager was 100% more competent. He was very well respected from the field employees, billing department to the repair man. Unlike the current situation, which in my opinion a complete joke. When the city council came to tour the station, he left his office a complete mess and had an employee clean up after him.

      As a previous employee, I would like to think that is why gerber is in it’s current state. Poor leadership from the hiring process, training, and supervisors. A lack of accountability! Gerber fires the wrong employees and hires ones that are not competent. It’s no secret. Anyone remotely close to this situation will agree.

      If he management was replaced, and mr gerber was more flexible to TFD’s requests along strict training policies, updated ambulances, better response times. Gerber ambulance would be the current provider, no question.

  • Anonymous

    Walk up to a Gerber employee and ask them what they “like” about working there.
    Adios Gerber

  • Anonymous

    What part of Gerber defaulting isn’t being understood here? They endangered Torrance residents. They didn’t have enough ambulances in working. Their equipment was outdated, despite their promises to buy new equipment. They had ambulances arriving at the scene with just a driver – meaning our firefighters had to serve as their EMT…

    Gerber gave thousands of dollars to candidates over the years. The Gerbers were personal friends of Frank Scotto, Gene Barnett, Tom Brewer and Bill Sutherland. They got the contract despite being ranked 4th by staff, but that apparently isn’t controversial. Ignoring staff’s recommendations and choosing even the 2nd provider on the list would be irresponsible. But 4th?

    If Gerber Ambulance is going to fall apart because they lost one contract, they aren’t stable enough to handle a city as large as Torrance. The fact is they are losing contracts all over the place. They lost Santa Monica. They lost Torrance Memorial. They lost Little Company of Mary. And now they lost Torrance. We were their last hope.

    BTW let’s not forget they were going to sell the company to McCormick and then backed out of the sale and asked them to double their price. McCormick would have been doing them a favor, since their ambulances were so old and in such disrepair they would have been donated to a foreign country.

    Let’s stop pretending the Gerbers are these saints who ran a wonderful company that succeeded and never defaulted. They fucked up, and now they are gone. Its that simple.

    • Anonymous

      Interesting they endangered Torrance residents for 27 years and we just now hear about it. You either work for the city or TFD and feel the need to compensate the McCormick for the big pay out they promised the city. Please keep the F words around your friends and co-workers and keep this conversation as civil adults please.

      • Anonymous

        Then I guess the opposite is also true….the people from the fire department have been treating the Gerber people bad for 27 years and we just now hear about it?

    • Anonymous

      They were going to sell to CARE, which would have been even better than McCormick.

  • anonymous

    The many employees and their families and friends, associated businesses and recipients of Gerber’s charity over the decades would make a good base from which to start a recall of this mayor. The results of the investigation into his campaign may give impetus to this effort. This election was the result of a 13% turnout and a conservative vote split, hardly a mandate. The heavy handed tactics displayed so far seem quite out of place given these facts. Conservative needs to make their voice heard.

  • Anonymous

    I neither work for the city nor am I a Firefighter. 2 years ago, Frank Scotto and his cronies chose Gerber over three other companies that ranked higher than them… and all of the councilmembers admitted to being personal friends of Bob Gerber. Now the new city council picks the #1 rated company, and somehow that is corrupt. Might want to fix your corruption radar and focus it on the past.

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