SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— Inundated with calls and facing over one hour response times, San Francisco officials had to turn to private ambulances to help cover the city during the Saturday night of the recent Labor Day weekend.

While the city hasn’t increased in size, the number of people using emergency services has grown. The number of people living, working and visiting San Francisco is going through the roof.

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Back in June we had a family of tourists visiting. Their two-year-old son was killed when a statue at Fisherman’s Wharf that he was climbing toppled over on top of him and he succumbed to internal injuries in the hospital. Well, it turns out it took an inordinate amount of time for an ambulance to come onto the scene, even though it didn’t appear he was in a life-threatening situation at the time.

That’s when it really popped up that the ambulances weren’t showing up within the city’s own self-imposed 10 minute time limit. Sometimes it would take 20 minutes. Sometimes it would take an hour.

We should point out that we’re not talking about life-threatening emergency calls. In that event an ambulance or fire truck shows up. But if you’re injured or you need someone to take you to the hospital, there’s a chance you could be waiting over an hour. Meanwhile you’re on the sidewalk or hurting somewhere else and the fire truck called to the scene has to stay with you because they’re unable to leave you alone.

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According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 1990 the city had a population of 723,000 that figure has grown to 825,000 according to the latest data. On many days that means there’s easily over 1 million people in San Francisco when you factor in workers and tourists.

We’re seeing the strain on the ambulances and the fundamental question at City Hall is whether or not the money is going to where it’s politically correct or if it’s going to where it needs to be.

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Fire Department Spokeswoman Mindy Talmadge said the meltdown wasn’t the first time the department had to call for assistance. She stressed the calls to private ambulances don’t happen very often and that firefighters were treating the patients themselves because their injuries weren’t that severe.