Councilors Plan Hearing To Discuss Increasing Emergency Services

Special to the Times

Boston City Councilor Gabriela Coletta and Councilor-at-Large Erin Murphy will hold a hearing to discuss increasing emergency services on Wednesday, September 6, at 10 a.m. in the Iannella Chamber, Fifth Floor of Boston City Hall.

“My office has received numerous calls from constituents about concerns regarding emergency service staffing and resources. District One has seen an uptick in delayed medical emergency assistance with arrival times close to an hour after dispatch. Our city must grow responsibly and ensure we can provide adequate services to all residents, especially emergency services, so every resident has access to lifesaving care within minutes,” said Councilor Coletta. “I look forward to the upcoming hearing with EMS, BFD, BPD and members of the Wu Administration to collaboratively work in planning for our city’s growth, which must coincide with planning for increased emergency services. Every second matters when it comes to saving lives.”

“A swift and timely response from medical personnel is crucial and, in some instances, lifesaving. Our EMS work tirelessly every day to respond to the medical needs of all of the residents in Boston, but they are not always able to respond as quickly as they need to across the City. By properly funding our Emergency Medical Services, and responding properly to growth in different areas of the City, this will ensure response times within minutes, which will save lives.” said Councilor Murphy.

The Councilors efforts underscore the urgency in supporting EMS with the resources needed to deliver high-quality care. During the hearing, Boston Emergency Medical Services (EMS), Boston Fire Department, Boston Police, and the Boston Planning and Development Agency will join to discuss increasing Boston’s emergency services, particularly as the BPDA leads planning efforts for each neighborhood, while uplifting the incredible service and commitment our emergency service departments have led for our city.

Highlights of the Order Include:

“WHEREAS, In January, Mayor Wu shared a vision for Boston to sustainably reach its peak population of 800,000 residents with the housing, schools, parks, and public transit to support that growth; and

WHEREAS, The current population of the City of Boston is more than 650,000, which would mean growing in population by 150,000 new residents; and

WHEREAS, Yet, there has been less focus on a plan to ensure there are adequate city services and infrastructure to absorb this growth responsibly. It is incumbent upon the City to review and analyze how this anticipated growth will impact our ability to provide basic city services such as public safety responses under fire, police, and emergency services.; and

WHEREAS, Boston Emergency Medical Services (EMS) is the City of Boston’s municipal ambulance service, caring for patients with clinical proficiency, professionalism and compassion. Member’s of Boston EMS answered the call for over 134,000 medical emergencies in 2022, serving residents across every neighborhood of the city. Our EMS responders also served admirably as frontline workers during the pandemic and deserve adequate support from the City; and

WHEREAS, On Friday, May 19, a Charlestown elderly woman was in need of assistance following a medical emergency.  While Boston Fire services arrived around 15 minutes after an emergency call was made, Boston EMS arrived about an hour after they were dispatched. The delay resulted in delay of care; and

WHEREAS, The resident later found out EMS transport was coming from a different neighborhood because Charlestown’s ambulance was occupied with a different call. This incident highlights the necessity in assessing city service needs in tandem with investments in city growth; and

WHEREAS, Effective growth requires a holistic approach in how the city will invest in more resources to successfully support its growing number of citizens, particularly in instances of distress. We must ensure that we have the appropriate ratio EMS cars, equipment, and personnel to provide residents with appropriate, life-saving response times;”

The hearing will be held under the Committee on Public Safety and Criminal Justice, chaired by Councilor Michael Flaherty. Members of the public are encouraged to provide written or oral comments.

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