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By Jeremy Schiffres, Daily and Sunday Freeman, Kingston, N.Y.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The price of progress

Back in August, I blogged about how cell phones probably have saved countless lives because ambulances can be called to car accident scenes more immediately than in the past.

A story in today's Freeman about Ulster County’s proposed budget for 2008 demonstrates that this benefit comes at a cost.

Art Snyder, the county’s emergency management director, told county lawmakers during a budget meeting on Tuesday that he’d like an additional $213,000 for his department so he can hire six more 911 operators to handle the recent increased volume of calls.

Snyder said the number of calls to the county's 911 center has risen by 26 percent since 2005, but not because the number of emergencies has jumped by 26 percent. Rather, “it is the number of phone calls reporting these incidents that has risen dramatically,” he said. “… It’s not uncommon to receive 15 to 20 calls reporting (one) car accident on the Thruway. This is attributable to the advances in mobile technology.”

So it turns out that saving lives, like everything else, comes at a cost. But when you consider that Ulster County has about 180,000 residents, Snyder’s $213,000 request doesn’t seem like too much of a burden. It works out to about $1.18 per person – an amount I certainly am willing to spend to turn an accident victim’s likely death into a real chance of survival.



Blogger UCP said...

Happy Thanksgiving

November 21, 2007 at 10:48 PM 

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