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Fire department receives additional ambulances along with new staff


The overburdened and understaffed rescue service of the Berlin fire department is getting some support.

As the Senate Department for the Interior announced on Wednesday (June 29, 2022), aid organizations are to provide the fire department with five more ambulances including personnel. The first ambulance will be put into service this Friday (01 July), the remaining four are to follow by the end of the year.

Communication between hospitals and rescue services to be improved

Senator for the Interior Iris Spranger and State Fire Director Karsten Homrighausen also agreed to examine the extent to which emergency paramedics currently working in other areas could be temporarily reassigned to the rescue service. Another goal is to reduce cases in which ambulances are turned away from hospitals and thus stay occupied longer than necessary. To this end, the network of communication between hospitals and rescue services is to be improved.

New information campaign on the emergency number 112

An information campaign on the question of when people should dial the emergency number 112 is also in the planning stage. A reason is that many people dial 112 when they have comparatively minor complaints, and the vehicles and crews that go there are then missing elsewhere. Spranger said: "I appeal to all people in Berlin to handle the emergency number 112 conscientiously. It should essentially be reserved for cases with an immediate danger to life. If you have acute complaints and your doctor is not available, please contact the medical on-call service by calling telephone number 116117."

Rescue service in a state of emergency

Theoretically, the Berlin Fire Department says it has about 140 emergency service vehicles in operation during the day and about 100 at night. In practice, however, there are often far fewer vehicles in operation due to a lack of staff. As a result, the fire department has already had to declare a state of emergency rescue service about 170 times this year. "For many people in need, the rescue service of the Berlin Fire Department is virtually the last lifeline," Spranger noted. "When other solutions are unavailable or simply not used, the rescue service bears the burden. To improve this situation sustainably is a mammoth task."

Author: dpa/
Publication date: 30 June 2022
Last updated: 30 June 2022

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