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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted at 1:38 p.m., Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Ambulances on extra duty in Christmas Eve

By Mike Gordon
Advertiser Staff Writer

City emergency services officials are expecting a busy Christmas Eve and have scheduled extra paramedics and ambulances at several O'ahu locations.

Two additional ambulances will be available tonight, bringing the island total to 18, and the Makakilo ambulance crew will switch to a 24-hour shift, said Donnie Gates, assistant chief for the cityís Emergency Medical Services.

The beefed-up staffing is because the number of calls for holiday help has grown over the years and it was especially busy this fall, Gates said.

"Weíve been watching the past holidays such as Thanksgiving and even Halloween and we were really busy," he said. "We had a lot more activity than we normally do."

Gates couldnít point to specific numbers or types of cases, but said the volume of calls for an ambulance will definitely increase.

"Itís not a lot of serious stuff," he said. "It is a lot of stuff that just needs an ambulance."

A similar plan will be in place for New Yearís Eve, he said.

The Honolulu Fire Department does not plan to add extra staff for Christmas Eve.

"For the most part, we expect a normal working day," said Capt. Emmit Kane, a department spokesman. "Historically, we havenít had anything that indicates anything different than any other day."