By Michelle Durham
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The City of Philadelphia receives so many 911 medical calls, that dispatchers run out of medic units to cover them.
Fire Commissioner Derrick Sawyer says it is an issue:
“We do run out of medic units especially during the summer with the heat. We have increased our resources so we don’t run out of medic units as often. We also put in a new priority dispatch system in place. For example if someone has a bee sting…we wouldn’t send amedic unit right away. If it was a heart attack we would make sure someone gets there right away.”
The fire department has increased the number of medic units that operate 24 hours a day to 50.
The real issue Sawyer says is that folks are dialing 911 for situations that are not true emergencies straining the resources of the city’s hardworking paramedics.
Sawyer says if a medic unit is not available, “we send an engine or ladder. We have a trained Emergency Medical Technician on that engine or ladder and they can render medical care until the medic unit gets there.”
Sawyer says they are still working to educate the public on the appropriate use of 911.