IT MAY NOT sit well with the city's beleaguered ambulance crews, but a resourceful reader has come up with a way to get people to the hospital a lot more quickly and reliably than has been the case up to now: turn the job over to Domino's Pizza. Why not? When you call in for pizza, Domino's guarantees delivery within 23 minutes -- and if you order it plain, they're with you in 18 minutes. Think about it: when have you ever seen a pizza driver stopping en route to study a map -- or winding up in the wrong quadrant of the city?

In truth there are some lessons in the pizza business that any emergency team should consider. The successful pizza-running operations have incentive systems to spur the drivers; and they have tight monitoring systems to help them weed out the slow of wheels or wit. For them, getting there is more than half the fun -- it's the whole point.

At least there are some signs that the city is working to improve its training and upgrade its hiring procedures. We won't say it's about time, because we've been saying that for more than a year now. But until the horror stories stop, the city government's efforts to say or do something just won't wash. An emergency is just that -- and the city has had a big one on its hands for far too long now