BELTON, TX — City leaders cut the Belton ambulance fleet from two, to one.
“We’ve had a shortage of paramedics in the fire department for several months now,” said Paul Romer, Belton Public Information Officer.
The staffing issue resulted in exhaustive overtime. He says this has taken a toll on firefighters, paramedics and impacts their safety.
In an effort to better cover the area, the city asked two private ambulance services to operate as backup.
“We’re in the middle of an evaluation process, so far it has gone fine,” said Romer.
However, the firefighters union said on Facebook that this is a dangerous plan.
“AMR is coming to the city on average two times a day. This is a dangerous scenario that might just play out in a time of your emergency, and has been allowed to happen by the city admin and department heads. They misinformed the council on the number of calls that we respond to on a daily basis,” said the post from the Belton Professional Firefighters page.
They wrote that call times have been delayed.
While the city would not comment on the Facebook post, they did say they have been taking comprehensive measures during a priority one call.
“We’ll send firefighters with a paramedic on the truck to get to the scene first. So, while AMR may take longer to get there we’re sending people along in advance of that, stabilizing a patient getting them ready for transport,” said Romer.
However, some say more needs to be done.
“This is not just about pay, benefits or workload as the city has tried to make the public believe, this is about public safety and keeping good city employees,” said the post.
This is still a temporary plan. City leaders are tracking the impact on reducing the fleet and plan to review the progress next month.