‘Use it, don’t abuse it’ Brownsville Fire & EMS report increase in non-emergency calls

Local News

BROWNSVILLE, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The Brownsville Fire and EMS department has received an influx of COVID-19 related calls that are not emergencies, putting a strain on the system.

“We’ve noticed about a 20% increase in COVID-related calls over the past seven days,” said Deputy Fire Chief, Cesar Pedraza.

He said although COVID-19 symptoms can be concerning, not all should be a reason for dialing 9-1-1.

“If you have persistent or consistent chest pains obviously 9-1-1, if you’re having trouble breathing, dial 9-1-1, if you are confused or have the inability to stay awake dial 9-1-1 or dial 9-1-1 for that person,” he said.

He explained that an average of one out of ten calls are true emergencies needing immediate advanced life support.

The department is receiving about 100 emergency medicals daily causing a backlog in the EMS system, but also at the emergency departments and hospitals, according to Pedraza.

“We have placed Brownsville Fire Department paramedics in the 9-1-1 centers. They are filtering some of these calls,” he said.

Chief Pedraza explained that the paramedics will conduct phone evaluations to whether it is necessary to dispatch an emergency unit.

He said once paramedics have arrived at their call, they will assess the patient to determine if the patient needs to be transported to a hospital, referred to their physician, or treated on-site.

“We’re not immune to COVID, we have about 15 personnel that are either positive for COVID or potentially positive for COVID so that places a strain on the system,” he said.

Chief Pedraza said with the influx of calls putting a strain on the emergency system, he would like for everyone to know the importance of using 9-1-1 correctly.

“While we are able to keep up with the call volume, we want to remind the citizens of Brownsville to use the ambulance service, just don’t abuse it. The message we’re trying to put out is use it, don’t abuse it,” he said.

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Countdown to China 2022!
February 04 2022 07:00 pm

Community Stories