Private ambulances can now talk to city dispatchers

    The city is hoping they won’t need to activate the connection.

    Private ambulances in Philadelphia now can radio directly to the city’s emergency operations system.   But the city is hoping they won’t need to activate the connection.

    “City of Philadelphia Fire Radio to Burholme three!”

    Mayor Nutter sat behind a dispatcher’s console at the Fire Command Center testing a new radio system to communicate with private ambulance companies in a time of crisis.  They cost 800 dollars per vehicle.  Philadelphia is paying half through a 90-thousand dollar state grant.  Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers says all EMS personnel need to be connected during a crisis.

    “Our citizens are much safer today because of this opportunity and because of this surge capability.”

    Tim Hinchcliff is head of the Burholme Ambulance.  He says for profit and non-profit ambulance companies should work together.

    “This collaboration produced a plan that will provide a sustained response in the event of a major emergency, and will provide a safety net when city services are extended beyond their capabilities.”

    The city emphasizes it has no current plans to use the private ambulances except in cases of extreme emergency.

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