By Walt Hunter

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia officials now say improvements to the fire department’s medic system, first implemented 100 days ago, are working, making more units available to those needing help.

Fire Commissioner Derrick Sawyer says the first of 25 new medic units, replacing half of the department’s aging fleet by the end of the year, is now on the streets.

The Commissioner and Public Safety Director Mike Resnick also credit new dispatching procedures including “call screening,”  in which dispatchers make sure Advanced Life Support units are not tied up answering less important calls, while life threatening emergencies go waiting.

Officials say the Fire Department invested $1.3 million to improve medic unit availability and another $6 million to replace the older medic units.

Officials add the new measures have also resulted in a big drop in the number of complaints by citizens about delayed response, due to medics not being available.

Philadelphia medics answer more than 300,000 calls for help each year.

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