MISSION, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The Mission Fire Department is taking steps towards becoming mission’s secondary emergency medical service (EMS) provider after getting approval from the city to purchase an ambulance.
“We all help each other out all the agencies you know the need is there the only thing is at times there is a delay and that is one of the main purposes of this is to minimize delay,” said Gilbert Sanchez, the Fire Chief of Mission’s Fire Department.
Sanchez said the need for ambulance providers has risen due to COVID and said there has been a time when there has not been enough available.
“COVID patients obviously has increased and we obviously reached the ultimate peak about a year ago,” said Sanchez.
The fire department received funding from the American Rescue Plan that requires them to buy not rent an ambulance. On Thursday, Mission’s City Council approved a $260k budget plus 5 year maintenance package for the purchase of an ambulance.
Sanchez said this is the beginning of the city’s own EMS program.
“A funding opportunity only allows purchases it doesn’t allow lease programs,” said Sanchez. “The intent is to have 15 in house fire fighters that are certified from EMT up to paramedic level to start this program.”
This EMS program will be the secondary 911 EMS provider to the city of Mission in the case that the primary, MedCare-EMS, needs back up.
According to MedCare-EMS’s Chief of Operations, Mack Gilbert, they service approximately 7,200 medical emergencies yearly and the previous secondary provider, Hidalgo County EMS, serviced about 120.
Moving forward, the Mission Fire EMS have a few final steps before becoming official.
“The steps to get this application submitted and approved, hire a medical director, set the protocols, get additional equipment for the ambulances,” said Sanchez.
Wednesday will the be the Ambulance Advisory Board’s meeting that will discuss the next steps for Mission’s fire EMS program.