IT HAS ONLY RECENTLY BEEN REVEALED that last month the FDNY has pulled the 35 volunteer ambulance squads in the city from its 9-1-1 dispatch system. In a memo to the dispatchers, a high-ranking EMS chief said that the volunteers “are no longer required” to help cover the calls sent out for emergency medical services.
The volunteer squads operate about 50 ambulances, mostly in Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island. They usually respond to more than 10,000 EMS calls a year, albeit most of them are not dispatched directly from the 9-1-1 center. When the city is overloaded, or sees a response delay, they sometimes call the vol. units on a phone line or the mutual-aid radio frequency. Most of the squads have their own emergency phone number and the citizens in their territory call them directly.
Flatlands Volunteer Ambulance Corps (Brooklyn) website photo
The medics who ride the units all have the same qualifications and certifications that any other medic units have. Many of the volunteers, in fact, are off-duty FDNY medics.
The New York Post has the full story on this recent revelation HERE.
The local city council members were caught unawares of this new policy and are already beginning to plan hearings on the reason for this puzzling decision. The volunteer squads are not only saving the city a lot of money, but they are seriously reducing response times in many instances.
Here are some selected websites for a few of the NYC volunteer ambulance squads:
- Flatlands Volunteer Ambulance Corps – http://www.fvac.org/
- Park Slope V. A. C. – http://www.psvac.org/psvac/
- Volunteer Heart Ambulance of S. I. – http://www.vollyheart.com/
- North Shore Rescue Squad – http://www.northshorerescuesquad.org/
- Boro Park Hatzolah Volunteer Ambulance – http://www.bphatzolah.org/
- Central Park Medical Unit – http://www.cpmu.com/
Hat tip to Chief Billy G. for vol. links