To the editor:
(re: “And then they took away the ambulances,” March 31)
The front page of a recent issue of The Riverdale Press featured a story about the city’s plan to re-jigger ambulance service, including a cut of one of the three high-tech ambulances assigned to our area.
I do not have data for our specific area, but the pre-pandemic data on ambulance service between 2013 and 2018 posted by the New York Fire Department in its former data web page indicates that borough-wide ambulance service had become increasingly strained over these six years.
In fact, the number of runs has grown from 336,000 from 2013, to just under 433,000 in 2018.
The number of ambulance runs increased by 29 percent.
Furthermore, the Bronx contributed only 17 percent of the city population but averaged 23 percent of the ambulance runs.
It looks as if the city is trying to do with ambulances what the Metropolitan Transportation Authority does with the Bx10 bus: make them run around faster. As with the Bx10s — aka sardine cans — this does not work with ambulances.
If the basic supply of ambulances and EMTs serving the city — and in particular, the Bronx — is insufficient for periods of average or peak demand, the populations will suffer inadequate service in quantity or quality. Or both.
Even before the pandemic, the union representing the EMTs tried to bring the increasing strain on ambulance service to public attention. With the 3 percent across-the-board budget cuts imposed by Mayor Eric Adams for all departments but the police, the FDNY is trying to stretch an already overstretched emergency response service.
Because of the past and present discrimination against the Bronx with respect to municipal services, we have to be on the alert about service changes. We already have inadequate fire control resources, inadequate building code enforcement, and weak tenant protection from predatory landlords.
Further reduction in essential services under this inhumane budget cannot be accepted. We have to push our local elected officials — council persons, Assembly persons, state senators, and borough president — to work together to protect us.