Boom Strains County's Volunteer EMS Service, Subscription System Could Help 10/30/13
CBS 7 News
October 30, 2013
GARDEN CITY-Emergency responders in one West Texas County are feeling the pinch of the boom with a jump in emergency medical services calls and it’s putting a big strain on volunteers.
Glasscock County officials say if the trend continues, it could mean residents will pay to keep ambulances running.
Despite just over 1200 people living in the county, they have already responded to 70 emergency medical calls this year alone (January-August 2014).
"We've at least doubled the number of calls,” said Glasscock Count Judge Kim Halfmann. “For a rural area and rural EMS system, that puts quite a bit of strain on our EMT’s,”
57 of those 70 EMS responses were for non-county residents. With 30-40 oil rigs operating in Glasscock at any given time, it's taking its toll on the 20 volunteer EMT’s. Many of the volunteers are long-term residents not working in the oilfield.
"They are leaving their family, their jobs, their homes to serve their community and burnout has become an issue,” Judge Halfmann said.
If nothing changes, the county may ask people to pay to subscribe to EMS services.
"That would allow us the opportunity to actually bill you if you were not a member,” Judge Halfmann said.
For some in the small community, it's well worth the money
"Anything that will help our volunteers is a good thing, we need to do it,” said Garden City Resident Suzie Hillger.
The county commissioners will ultimately decide how to handle the issue.