NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The New York City emergency service system has been seriously bogged down by the snow, CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer reports.

The Fire Department of New York has reported a backlog of 1,300 911 emergency calls. EMS sources now tell Kramer that there’s a 3-hour delay in response to critical cases, like heart attacks, and 12-hour delays for non-critical calls.

Ambulances are having difficulty getting through the snow, and many of them are stuck. Firetrucks are transporting some critical cases to the hospital.

Sources said the FDNY requested a state of emergency to be declared, but the Office of Emergency Management denied the request.

“Because of the snow and the extreme conditions it’s causing for traffic and travel, we are experiencing extremely heavy call volume and significant delays with our ambulances being able to access locations,” said John Peruggia, chief of Fire Department Emergency Medical Services.

“We’re getting a lot of calls for injuries, or I’m sick, or I’m cold and clearly those might be situations you want to see your doctor for but you can’t get to your doctor today so you’re calling the ambulance and that’s really not what the ambulance is for, especially not in a weather emergency,” Peruggia said.

Officials are requesting that New Yorkers only call 911 for truly critical, life-threatening medical emergencies.

Comments (7)
  1. Shawn says:

    you cant blame ems for this…..we have no control over our ambulances getting stuck in the snow, and to think otherwise is just plain stupid. i work in queens and have seen plenty of snowplows out on the streets, but not plowing. instead they sit at 7-11 or dunkin donuts drinking coffee while we try to save lives.

  2. Sharon D. says:

    I live in Brooklyn. I am handicapped, on a ventilator with oxygen, and have multiple, serious, medical issues. I often find myself in need of an ambulance to get me to the hospital or because I need to be monitored (I use a private volunteer ambulance company that does this for me). My street has not been touched by sanitation, nor have the cross streets. If I need medication or medical supplies (including portable oxygen) which I normally have delivered, I will be in trouble. What am I going to do?

  3. Skippy says:

    Someone didn’t have a plan ready. Too many chiefs not enough workers to get the job done. Mangement and talking heads. The mesage is that scew the outer boroughs, manhattan is safe ladies and gentlemen if you can get into it.

  4. Jim Jones says:

    more money more problems

  5. rob says:


  6. Charlene Stubbs says:

    Channel 2 just reported that The Fire Department of New York City wanted The Office Of Emergency Management to declare a state of emergency here in NY City. That would mean only emergency vehicles could you use the roads. They denied the request. What is wrong with them?

    911 says cardiac emergencies have a 53 minutes waiting time. You could die in that time.

    Where are the snow plows? My street is still not plowed & it is 12:30 in the afternoon. What if someone on these side streets need an emergency vehicle? 60TH Street which runs into Metropolitan Avenue & Flushing Avenue has not been cleaned either. We would have to walk blocks to get to a main street to get to an emergency vehicle.

    The Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz was on Channel 2 news. He said streets in Brooklyn have not been plowed. He was practically begging Sanitation to clean his streets.

    I spoke to Lydon Sleeper from Elizabeth Crowley’s office. He said when he got to work at 8:30 this morning Metropolitan Avenue in Forest Hills & Kew Gardens was not completely cleaned. He saw The Sanitation Department trying to clear Woodhaven Boulevard.

    Heads should roll over this. Start with OEM for denying a State Of Emergency last night.

    1. Jere says:

      I see lawsuits coming against the city, oem and fd. Such long waits are unacceptable. Stress causes cardiac issues. Snow blockade causes stress.
      My street is not cleared yet. I’m glad I don’t have to go anywhere today.

Leave a Reply