The city's 911 system is dealing with a shortage of emergency operators.
The fire department says the shortfall started when its training facility was closed a year ago so it could be brought up to meet federal safety codes.
In the meantime, it is imposing mandatory overtime and pulling operators from some shifts to cover others.
The shortage means calls that go unanswered after 6 rings are now rerouted to the NYPD call center.
However, those operators are not trained to give medical instructions over the phone.
Fire officials say average response times are still a record low 6 minutes, 30 seconds.
A department spokesman says it is working to train more operators.