De Blasio To Allocate $70M Over 5 Years To Cut Down Ambulance Response Times

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – Mayor Bill de Blasio wants to cut down the time it takes for ambulances to respond to emergencies in New York City.

On Sunday, the de Blasio administration released details from his new budget proposal that authorizes an additional $70 million over the next five years to put more paramedics on the streets and dispatchers at call centers.

City officials said the funding will allow for the fire department to staff 45 additional ambulance shifts and employ 149 additional Emergency Medical Service dispatchers.

The proposal comes on the heels of the busiest year ever for EMS, whose responders answered 1.3 million emergency calls in 2013.

The average response time was 6 minutes 50 seconds in 2014, 3 seconds higher than 2013, WCBS 880’s Monica Miller reported.

The goal now is to reduce the average response time by 20 seconds, city officials said.

“This investment will go a long way toward improving response time, ensuring that our first responders can do their jobs as effectively as possible, and potentially saving lives in communities around the city,” the mayor said in a statement.

Union president for EMS workers, Israel Miranda, told 1010 WINS’ Roger Stern this is the right thing to do, especially with call volume on the rise.

“The year before last we were at 1.3 million and this year that just ended we did 1.6 million calls,” Miranda said. “So as the population grows in New York City, so does the call volume.”

The FDNY hopes it will make a big difference in three areas of the city where response times have been slower than normal: the South Bronx, Western Queens and Staten Island.

De Blasio is set to unveil is preliminary budget on Monday.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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