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FDNY: 911 Backlog Of 1,300 Calls; Critical Patients Suffering Delayed Response

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The New York City emergency service system has been seriously bogged down by the snow, CBS 2's Marcia Kramer reports.

The Fire Department of New York has reported a backlog of 1,300 911 emergency calls. EMS sources now tell Kramer that there's a 3-hour delay in response to critical cases, like heart attacks, and 12-hour delays for non-critical calls.

Ambulances are having difficulty getting through the snow, and many of them are stuck. Firetrucks are transporting some critical cases to the hospital.

Sources said the FDNY requested a state of emergency to be declared, but the Office of Emergency Management denied the request.

"Because of the snow and the extreme conditions it's causing for traffic and travel, we are experiencing extremely heavy call volume and significant delays with our ambulances being able to access locations," said John Peruggia, chief of Fire Department Emergency Medical Services.

"We're getting a lot of calls for injuries, or I'm sick, or I'm cold and clearly those might be situations you want to see your doctor for but you can't get to your doctor today so you're calling the ambulance and that's really not what the ambulance is for, especially not in a weather emergency," Peruggia said.

Officials are requesting that New Yorkers only call 911 for truly critical, life-threatening medical emergencies.

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