Philadelphia ambulances still not gettting out quickly enough

A new report shows that ambulances in Philadelphia is still missing the mark on response times.  

Philadelphia City Controller Alan Butkovitz says the fire department’s EMS program isn’t meeting national standards for response time because there aren’t enough paramedics.

“Over the last decade EMS requests have gone up by 36 percent to 224,485 in 2009 while the number of paramedics decreased by 28 percent,” said Butkovitz.

Philadelphia Fire Department officials say they have made improvements.  Butkovitz says it’s not enough.

“The increase five ambulance units is a real improvement we credit them with it,” he said.  “The improvement of technology is real and we credit them with it, it needs to be prioritized at a higher level.  This is at the top of the food chain in my view in terms of importance of city services”

Butkovitz adds about half the calls made for EMS service to 911 are not emergencies and he wants to cut that down.  Fire Department officials are also awaiting an independent report on the issue that they have commissioned to come up with ways to help

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.