Mayor Michael Bloomberg is defending the city's response to a City Council intern who fainted in Brooklyn yesterday, noting it was considered lower priority because her injuries were not life-threatening. NY1's Grace Rauh filed the following report.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg is the first to acknowledge that the heat can be dangerous.
"This is not a joke," Bloomberg said. "I know everybody says, 'Well, I'm tougher than the heat.' But the bottom line is, you have to drink a lot of water and wear light clothing."
When it comes to people in need of medical help in the hot weather, though, they may have to just sit tight, as long as their condition is not life-threatening.
"We're going to have slower response time when there's more demand, and the first thing we're going to do is send our ambulances to where the need is the greatest," the mayor said.
Bloomberg was defending the city's ambulance system a day after City Council Speaker Christine Quinn had to wait more than 30 minutes for an ambulance to help an intern who fainted on the street. She was outraged by the delay.
"It'd be great if we could have an ambulance on every corner, but I don't know of any taxpayers who are going to pay for that, and that's just not practical," Bloomberg said.
City Hall does appear to have responded to Speaker Quinn's demand that more ambulances be put on the street. Bloomberg said that there are 20 extra ambulances out and about to help respond to the heat.
"I think that is an absolute step in the right direction," Quinn said.
The speaker is taking credit for the additional emergency vehicles, and she is pushing for a bigger discussion to take place about whether the city should expand the size of its ambulance fleet altogether.
However, Bill de Blasio, one of her rivals in the mayor's race, said that the City Council, led by Quinn, bears some responsibility.
"I think there's a certain hypocrisy in the notion that the City Council is now saying how deeply concerned they are about the 911 problems, when, in fact, they've deferred to the mayor over and over again on them," de Blasio said.
Quinn said the delay was not related to the city's new 911 system, but to a lack of ambulances on city streets. She said it is a new problem entirely.