By Julia Marsh
March 31, 2020 10:03am Updated
The feds are sending 250 ambulances and 500 EMTs and paramedics to the Big Apple to help the city contend with the “unprecedented” crush of calls to 911 during the coronavirus pandemic, officials said Tuesday.
The additional vehicles and personnel dispatched by the Federal Emergency Management Agency will help transfer patients from overcrowded facilities such as Elmhurst Hospital in Queens to buildings with more space, City Hall said. They’ll also help the FDNY respond to emergency calls.
“Our EMTs and paramedics are facing an unprecedented number of medical calls each day. There has never been a busier time in the history of EMS in New York City,” said Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro.
“We are very grateful for this assistance from FEMA that will make an immediate impact to the 911 system and greatly assist our men and women on the front lines of this pandemic,” he continued.
“We are proud to support the first responders and people of New York as we all work together to help guide our city, our state and our country through this difficult time,” added Tom Von Essen, FEMA’s regional director and former FDNY commissioner under Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
Officials stressed that New Yorkers should only call 911 if there is a medical emergency. The call system has seen a 50 percent increase over normal daily volume. People who are sick but not in need of hospitalization should call 311 or their doctor, officials said.