||This post is not politically motivated in any way. One could argue the fact that John Street may be the worst Mayor in Philadelphia history. He is corrupt, arrogant, racist, and generally really poor at his job. Murderer is not there yet, but that could change if he passes the plan to cut 4 of the 40 Ambulance (Advanced Life Support ALS) Units from the Philadelphia Fire Department. The basic life support units, the firefighters, can administer CPR and use a defibrillator, however, only the ALS units can administer advanced medical care including the administration of drugs.
If you know me you know that I have nothing but the utmost respect for the brave men and women who serve this country, whether military, police, fire, or ambulatory. They put their lives on the line every moment of their job, and for that I thank them, and that part of my motivation behind this. Secondly, I live in Philadelphia and know it is a great city. With the amount of new construction and many respected groups calling Philadelphia America's next Boom City, I am proud to call it home. I want to continue to live here with the knowledge that if my life, or the life of a family member where on the line, there would be someone available to assist.
Now, the numbers. Philadelphia currently has 40 ALS units 1 is permanently stationed at the Philadelphia International Airport. Those 39 Units could be sent anywhere in the city of the need calls. Also, keep in mind that 12 of the units are out of commission between midnight and 6:00 am leaving only 28 units. If one unit is busy, they will send another unit. Makes sense right? Until you look at the statistics.
If your heart stops beating, you are generally, completely brain dead after 4 minutes, after 1 minute brain damage can occur. So if your nearest medic team is busy, they will send the next closest available unit. Since Philadelphia is short units already, let’s see what happens. There was a cardiac arrest on 54th, but since their nearest unit was busy, the Academy and Frankford Medic was dispatched. By Mapquest that is 16 miles taking 26 minutes. Another example, there was a car accident Academy and Frankford over the holiday weekend. Their medic team was already busy, so the Medic Unit in South Philly was sent. 17 miles, 21 minutes by Mapquest. Get the idea. Such occurrences happen every day, yet they are not reported. Why does the media not latch on to this issue? Not to bash the medic units or the fire fighters, they are spread why too thin.
Three national firms came in and studied the situation in the city. All three said that the city should operate 90 units, but could get by with a minimum of 60 units. Now the city wants to cut 4 more.
Sure people abuse the system. There also needs to be a way for the Medic Units to determine a true emergency from someone who would rather go to the hospital than got to Rite Aid and spring the 3 bucks for a bottle of Children's Tylenol. Your kid has a fever, give them some Tylenol and call the doctor. Unless we are talking about 105 degree fever, you don't need to go to the hospital.
What can you do about it? If you live or work in Philadelphia, call your city council person or Mayor Street's office. The numbers are listed at the end of this post for your convenience.
When you call them, don't just ask the question, "Are you in favor of cutting ambulatory services in Philadelphia?" What person in their right mind would say yes? Ask them, "What are you going to do to prevent the cutting of the medic units and build them up to the number recommended by 3 national firms." Also, ask why Philadelphia does not have a contract in place with private ambulance company and local counties to assist when busy. I live about a mile from 2 medic units in Montgomery County and 3 blocks from a privately owned Ambulance company. There are nearly 100 privately owned ambulance companies in the Philadelphia Area (New Jersey not included), yet the city does not have a contract in place to ask them to assist when it would be prudent. We are the only major city to not have that contract in place. You need to ask your council person why that is the case.
Visit Save the PFD. There you can read the latest news, send e-mails to the Mayor and Fire Commissioner and sign a petition to wake up this city's government.
I hope you are as outraged as I am. Please if you are a blogger in the Philadelphia Area, link this post, or paste it in its entirety. Regardless of our political beliefs, this is one area where we all must come to a common agreement. This is about your life, your spouse, children, friends and all loved ones who live or work in Philadelphia.
As promised, the phone numbers:
Mayor John Street can be contacted at:
Mayor's Executive Office
Room 215 City Hall
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Fax# (215) 686-2180
Call: 215-686-1776 or 215-686-2181
If you are not sure of who your council person is visit the City Council's Website for more information.
City Council President
Anna C. Verna: (215) 686-3412
Councilman David Cohen: (215) 686-3446
Councilman W. Wilson Goode, Jr.: (215) 686-3414
Councilman Jack Kelly: (215) 686-3452
Councilman James Kenney: (215) 686-3450
Councilman Juan Ramos (215) 686-3420
Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown: (215) 686-3438
Councilman Frank Rizzo, Jr.: (215) 686-3440
District Council Members
#1 - Councilman Frank DiCicco: (215) 686-3458
#2 - Council President Anna Verna: (215) 686-3412
#3 - Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell: (215) 686-3418
#4 - Councilman Michael Nutter: (215) 686-3416
#5 - Council Darrell Clarke: (215) 686-3442
#6 - Councilwoman Joan L. Krajewski: (215) 686-3444
#7 - Councilman Richard Mariano: (215) 686-3448
#8 - Councilwoman Donna Miller: (215) 686-3424
#9 - Councilwoman Marian B. Tasco: (215) 686-3454
#10 - Councilman Brian J. O'Neill: (215) 686-3422