Source Lubbock Avalanche-Journal; By Peggy Smith; Sunday October 24, 1975
Lubbock residents can expect to see the first step toward a countywide Emergency Medical Services (EMS) system in action Nov.1.
“We plan to hire our first five-member crew by Oct.29…and have them making responses in the rural portions of Lubbock County by Nov.1.” EMS coordinator Stuart Haggard said.
District officials are looking to this date as initiation of the services because the county contract with Aid Ambulance Co. to provide emergency care expires Oct 31. The Lubbock County Hospital District (LCHD) employee said.
Two more crews for the EMS are expected to be in operation by mid-December since that marks the period when the Aid and City of Lubbock contract expires, Haggard added.
Development of the system marks the end of three years planning and numerous battles among local government officials over funding of the estimated $193,000 annual program.
Plans for the EMS system began in 1972 when Aid was left as the only emergency service company in Lubbock County. Funeral homes supplying the services said they were losing money on the programs.
Many of the initial operations are temporary phases, which will be improved at a later date, Haggard said.
A portion of the Aid staff, including co-owner David Ehler will be phased into working only for the district EMS system by mid-December.
Aid will be left to handle only patient transfer services, as agreed in a recent contract.
The district is anticipating hiring 13 emergency medical technicians (EMT’s) for the city of Lubbock and obtaining 10 ambulances for the county by mid-December, Haggard said.
Three of the ambulances will be used in Lubbock, five in the rural cities and two as standby units. Plans are also being completed for the rural operations.
Because a central communication system at the Lubbock County Sheriff’s Department is still being worked on a date for operation of the station is undetermined, the coordinator said. County court members will meet Tuesday to work out funding of the system, which will eventually be linked with all EMS stations.
Until the station is completed Lubbock residents will continue calling Aid for services. The EMS programs new number will be 747-3561 after the center has been completed. Haggard said.
Initial stations for the EMS operations will be the county owned building at 10th street and Avenue G and the Aid facility on 21st street he said.
Realtors are checking for other stations…to complete the three required stations,” Haggard said. One possible site is an old service station at 50th Street and Avenue Q., which must be renovated.
At least two of the Lubbock sites will be leased and the county building is being provided as part of the com-missioners’ agreement to fund the first two-years’ operation of the EMS, Haggard said.
Abernathy and Idalou will be the first rural communities to receive their EMS equipment since they are the only cities with adequate volunteers and staff for the system, the coordinator said.
Wolfforth, Slaton and Shallowater do not have adequate staffing or stations.
The Lubbock system can help out in these communities until at least six EMTs are trained for each city Haggard said.
“I also believe these rural cities can get a station on quick notice” he added.
UMC EMS has been provided by UMC Health System since 1975. EMS responds to over 30,000 emergency calls a year, serving a metropolitan population of over 220,000 people. The average response times to these calls was less than five minutes, more than three minutes under the national average. To achieve that kind of rapid response, EMS paramedics must be ready to respond to any emergency situation 24-hours a day, 7 days a week.
UMC EMS operates nine Mobile Intensive Care Unit ambulances staffed by at least one paramedic for the city of Lubbock. It also has six first responder units in the city. The first responders operate in Ford F-250 pickups with full advanced life support equipment. They are manned by one paramedic each. There are seven self governed, volunteer services in the county which are supported by UMC EMS. These county services operate at Basic Life Support with Mobile Intensive Care Unit capable level.
Organizational expansion became effective September 8, 2008 with the movement of the current shift chiefs and comm center chief to administrative positions as Division Chiefs, serving directly under the Director. These positions will work closely with the director to insure that all administrative aspects of the department are taken care of on a daily basis. As growth comes to the department in the future, UMC EMS is preparing today to meet it.
On January 5, 2009, the daily operations of UMC EMS changed. The service converted all shifts to 12 hour shifts. We will have 4 shifts working a two on, two off, and on every other weekend schedule. There are now four Shift Chiefs, four Assistant Chiefs and four Senior Field Training Officers. This will give more supervision and experience in the field, allowing our personnel to have assistance anytime they need it with little delay. The 12 hour shifts will help deal with the stress on crews that have been running 15-20 calls in a 24 hour shift.
There are five stations located within the city limits of Lubbock. The seven county services are located in the cities of Abernathy, New Deal, Idalou, Slaton, Wolfforth, and Shallowater each have a station, as well as the West Carlisle Volunteer Fire Department.