Philadelphia Mayor Acts Quickly to Shore Up EMS System - @ JEMS.com


Philadelphia Mayor Acts Quickly to Shore Up EMS System


 
 

Dave Davies | | Wednesday, February 13, 2008


PHILADELPHIA -- Responding to widespread criticism of slow response times by city ambulances, Mayor Nutter acted yesterday to shore up the city's emergency medical services.

With a quick infusion of money for overtime and hiring, Nutter announced that the Fire Department put two new ambulances into round-the-clock service yesterday morning, and will add more units over the next 12 days.

The moves come after several Daily News stories of slow EMS responses, a highly critical report by City Controller Alan Butkovitz and the threat of public hearings in City Council.

"We take your concerns very seriously," Nutter said, referring to citizens worried about the 911 system. "The government is responding."

Councilwoman Joan Krajewski joined Nutter at yesterday's news conference, saying she was pleased with his actions and would not hold planned hearings on the city's EMS system.

Butkovitz said he was "very, very impressed and heartened" by Nutter's moves. Brian McBride, president of the firefighters union, joined in praising Nutter's action.

"It's a good, positive first step," McBride said. "It's about 25 percent of what we need."

Union recording secretary David Kearney said that besides adding ambulances and personnel, the city needs to better prioritize its call-screening and dispatching procedures.

Among the steps planned to improve EMS performance:

  • A combination of new ambulances and expanded hours will increase the number of vehicles in service during the day from 45 to 50, and at night from 28 to 33.
  • Money is being added to hire 40 paramedics, in addition to seven recently hired. They should provide relief for medics who will be working extensive overtime to expand service.
  • An educational campaign will be conducted to discourage citizens from calling 911 in situations that aren't emergencies. The city also hopes to have a 311 system up by the end of the year to answer non-emergency calls.
  • The Fire Department will put two new "emergency field operations chiefs" on the street to monitor and supervise EMS operations and recommend improvements.
  • Work continues on an enhanced 911 call-taking and dispatch system. Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers said he couldn't estimate when the system would be operational.

The changes announced yesterday are expected to cost about $3.8 million per year.

No changes are planned in the city's policy of not using private and nonprofit ambulances for 911 calls. Officials of several private services have offered to augment the city's emergency services.

Ayers said the city plans to improve communications with non-municipal ambulances for disaster-response planning, and hasn't ruled out a future role in answering 911 calls.


Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: Leadership and Professionalism, Communications and Dispatch, Operations and Protcols, Vehicle Operations, Training

What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Buyer's Guide Featured Companies

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS

Get JEMS in Your Inbox

 

Fire EMS Blogs


Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

 

EMS Airway Clinic

Improving Survival from Cardiac Arrest Using ACD-CPR + ITD

Using active compression-decompression CPR with an ITD has been shown to improve 1-year survival from cardiac arrest by 33%.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Philadelphia Fire Department Apologizes for Medic’s Jab at Police

Union head calls photos a slap in the face of officers.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

D.C. Fire and EMS Crews Blame New Technology for Patient’s Death

Delayed response blamed on recurring dispatch problems.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Suspect Steals, Crashes Maryland Ambulance

One killed, others injured in Prince George’s County crash.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Tennessee Trench Rescue

Worker pulled from Roane County worksite.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Time’s Ebola Firefighters

Doctors, nurses and others saluted for fighting virus.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Car Strikes Manhattan Pedestrians

Seven people hurt when car jumps curb.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

VividTrac offered by Vivid Medical - EMS Today 2013

VividTrac, affordable high performance video intubation device.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

LMA MAD Nasal™

Needle-free intranasal drug delivery.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Field Bridge Xpress ePCR on iPad, Android, Kindle Fire

Sneak peek of customizable run forms & more.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

The AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher Conversion Kit - EMS Today 2013

AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher all-hazards preparedness & response tool
Watch It >


More Product Videos >