March 31, 2020, By Michael Dorgan
Mayor Bill De Blasio has announced that the city – in partnership with FEMA – will get an additional 250 ambulances and around 500 extra EMTs and paramedics to help meet the spike in demand for emergency services.
The extra resources will increase medical transport capacity between medical sites and assist the FDNY in responding to a record number of 911 calls, the mayor said in a statement this morning.
The ambulances will be fully staffed by paramedics and EMTs who will be sourced from around the country.
“Our EMTs and paramedics are doing unbelievable work under the toughest of circumstances,” de Blasio said.
“This week, I promised them help was on the way, and today it is. Our partnership with FEMA will give our first responders the help they need to continue being the heroes of our city,” he said.
The announcement comes at a time when the number of coronavirus related deaths in New York City has risen to 932 since the outbreak began, according to figures released by the NYC Department of Health this morning. Queens is the hardest hit borough with 309 lives lost.
The coronavirus spread has seen an unprecedented 50 percent increase in normal daily call volume to emergency medical services and the extra resources will provide urgently needed help.
“There has never been a busier time in the history of EMS in New York City,” said Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro.
“We are very grateful for this assistance from FEMA that will make an immediate impact to the 911 system and greatly assist our men and women on the frontlines of this pandemic,” he said.
The FDNY is urging residents to only call 911 if it is an urgent emergency. Those who are sick are advised to call a doctor, or call 311 for help getting connected with a doctor, the FDNY said.