By Walt Hunter

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia officials now say medic units faced a tough combination of heavy snow, heavy traffic and an avalanche of storm-related calls that slowed responses during Tuesday’s storm.

At the height of the storm records provided by the city show calls more than doubled to 57 an hour from the average of 27 an hour. Total EMS calls for the day jumping to 702 from an average of 641, an 18 percent increase.

Local 22 Firefighters’ Union President Joe Schulle says “first responders” arriving on engines and ladders to initially treat patients often had to wait an hour or more for medics to get to the scene.

While Mayor Michael Nutter praised the Fire Commissioner and department for its screening of calls and deployment of equipment throughout the storm, the Firefighters’ Union President warned the storm delays are a clear warning sign that the city medic force needs to be strengthened in order to deal properly with future storms and more serious emergencies.

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