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Press Releases / 2010 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 29, 2010


Fire Commissioner Salvatore J. Cassano announced today the city will increase basic ambulance coverage by 15% on the West Side to alleviate the impact of additional travel time to other hospitals in Manhattan due to the closure of St. Vincent’s Hospital.

The FDNY, which is already staffing 13 ambulance tours daily that were previously provided by St. Vincent’s, has authorized the establishment of an additional five tours by hospitals that already run ambulance units in the 911 system. Beth Israel Medical Center will run three additional ambulance tours and St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital will run two tours daily.

The five additional tours, which will be added at no cost to the city, will increase from 30 to 35 the number of Basic Life Support (BLS) ambulance tours staffed each day in the area from Houston Street to 59th Street and from Fifth Avenue to the Hudson River. (In addition to BLS units, the city also runs 26 Advanced Life Support tours daily in this area.)

“We’re going to maintain the highest level of care to the people affected by the closure of St. Vincent’s by putting additional ambulances on the streets,” said Commissioner Cassano. “With an estimated 18,000 people that will need to be transported to other hospitals, these additional resources will help us maintain the excellent pre-hospital emergency medical care we are currently providing.”

The Fire Department’s Bureau of Emergency Medical Services has been closely monitoring the impact of the hospital closure on response times and unit availability. While response time to medical emergencies has remained stable, additional travel time to and from hospitals outside the West Village community has increased, thus prompting the decision to provide additional resources.

Commissioner Cassano thanked officials at Beth Israel, St. Luke’s and other Manhattan hospitals that offered to staff additional ambulance tours to lessen the impact of St. Vincent’s closure, and said the FDNY will continue to work with hospitals and the state Health Department in monitoring the impact of the closure on the West Village community.

Press Contact: Francis X. Gribbon & Steve Ritea, (FDNY) (718) 999-2056

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