From the Forum West:
City fire officials have agreed to once again allow community-based volunteer ambulance corps to log onto the 911 system, in a reversal of a much-criticized decision made late last year.
On Tuesday, Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village), who chairs City Council’s Fire and Criminal Justice Committee, was joined by members of volunteer ambulance corps at a press conference on the steps of City Hall. Following the rally, Crowley led a hearing on the recent FDNY/EMS decision to remove the vollies from the 911 system.
During that hearing, EMS Chief John Peruggia agreed to restore the policy that allowed the groups to log onto the 911 system, according to Crowley, who called the decision a “victory for all New Yorkers.” However, she cautioned that “while this is a step in the direction, there is still progress to be made to reach a solution that will most effectively utilize these volunteer groups in partnership with the EMS... I hope today’s hearing demonstrates a willingness and a commitment from the EMS to work with our community volunteer ambulances and the City Council to utilize these free and important resources.”
There are about three dozen volunteer ambulance groups throughout the city, mostly in the outer boroughs, that respond to nearly 15,000 emergencies annually. The policy reversed last October was a 2001 EMS Command Order that allowed vollies to log onto the system in an effort to maximize all available resources.