AUSTIN (KXAN) — Someone who called for an ambulance from a construction site had to wait 28 minutes for one to show up, according to ATCEMS Association President Selena Xie.
“We had to down a bunch of ambulances today because of staffing shortages,” she said.
ATCEMS Asst. Chief Wesley Hopkins said the call that came from the site was a Priority 4, meaning lower priority.
“We had an influx of calls, so we had a lot of ambulances out on calls,” he said. “This call was categorized as a four, so a lower priority, so we diverted other ambulances to higher priority calls, which led to a 28 minute response time.”
Xie said ATCEMS is 11 positions down for both weekend days.
“During the summer, our call volume really picks up,” she said. “So we need every single ambulance in service. Now we’re seeing a lot of heat-related emergencies so we need all the ambulances we have. So even if we down one or two ambulances, it makes a huge difference to the system.”
Assistant Chief Hopkins said 27 medics are currently out with COVID. He wants to give his staff credit during this time.
“Our medics are working insanely hard. These temperatures don’t help. We’re seeing call volumes go up,” he said.
The next cadet class will graduate 14 members on August 26th, according to Xie. She said that’s half the size of a normal class, and they won’t be on independent duty until December.