Editors Note: This story has been changed by removing the hours of operation for Med-Care EMS.
MISSION, Texas (ValleyCentral) — On Thursday the Mission City Council approved the city’s fire department to be the city’s backup Emergency Medical Services (EMS) provider.
“It’s heartbreaking because you respond to these calls knowing that when someone is in dire need we’re there to help and there’s a time where we’re unable to help because we don’t have the ambulance and the equipment that we need,” said Michael Silva, a board member of the Missions Fire Fighter’s Association.
The primary provider for Mission is Med-Care EMS which currently has three ambulances available for 911 calls. Silva said Governor Greg Abbott relaxed requirements for EMS personnel allowing for more hands-on-deck due to the pandemic, but that is about to end.
“To allow drivers who are not certified to be on the ambulance unit until we could get everything under control, and since it expires September 1st EMS units will no longer have that,” said Silva.
The Mission City Council approved the five-year plan from the fire department and will be allowed the budget to lease an additional ambulance.
“What changes is that you have your firefighters now providing the best quality of care to our citizens having an additional unit, transporting the patient to the hospital for the quality of life and care that they need,” said Silva.
According to Fire Chief Gilbert Sanchez, there is about 30 EMS personnel on staff and they have the goal in mind to have more licensed paramedics over time.
Mayor Dr. Armando O’Caña said that to fit the city’s budget they will not be hiring more staff.
“We are not going to increase staff, we are going to use the existing paramedics that we have,” said O’Caña. “There will be no additional impact other than overtime.”
The fire department said this is a win for the community and it has worked hard to prepare.
“I’m very pleased to hear the approval from the mayor and the council in regards to going forward for this fire-based EMS,” said Chief Sanchez.