*Editor's note: This article is part three of a three-part series that detailed how police, fire and emergency medical personnel plan to serve the Waxahachie community during and after the anticipated population boom.
When seconds count, having the right resources in place can mean everything. And, as growth continues across Ellis County, medical personnel at American Medical Response are learning to adapt to the new normal.
American Medical Response has served Ellis County since 2016. Nationwide AMR serves more than 2,100 communities in 40 states and the District of Columbia.
In Ellis County, AMR services Waxahachie, Red Oak, Ennis, and county residents. Units that serve the county are also stationed in Palmer, Italy, and Maypearl.
Vernon Wickliffe, operations manager, stated AMR Ellis County maintains ongoing compliance with its current contract and works to meet the needs of the community it serves.
“As a part of standard operational due diligence, we review our volumes and response times, and we prepare accordingly to support the community’s needs,” Wickliffe said. “If the Ellis County population continues to grow, we are equipped to support that growth from a staffing and resource perspective.”
Those calls for service continue to multiple.
In 2016, crews responded 11,072 calls and then about 13,000 calls in 2017. The most frequent type of calls AMR responded to in last year were ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarctions (26), strokes (161), traumas (778), cardiac (971), medical (7,281), and pediatric (1,509).
According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics website, the demand for emergency medical technicians and paramedics continues to grow. It is projected the need for these trained individuals will increase by 15 percent between 2016-2026. The operations in Ellis County is made up of 80 paramedics and EMTs.
Tawnya Silloway, AMR Manager of Community and Internal Relations, stated staffing levels is something that AMR looks at regularly to continually meet the needs of communities.
“We are constantly reviewing and looking at our call data to see how many calls we have gotten and how much of an increase or decrease it has been over the year, the last month or the last six weeks,” Silloway said. “We look at the historical data and compare it with growth to see if it is staying the same or changing. So we are able to look at that in how we need to adjust our staffing.”
Silloway stated, as a company, growth is relative to each area they operate out of and the needs of that community.
“I know that each of our operations is very dedicated. If some area needs attention in a community we are willing to develop a program to serve that,” Silloway explained. “For example in Oregon, we have a whitewater rescue team because that community needed that service because they saw a lot of drownings in whitewater. AMR stepped in to help and develop a water rescue team.”
Silloway added part of AMR’s service to the community is through public education. Though its public education programs and the AMR CPR Challenge the company trained 2,063 Ellis County residents in hands-only CPR. AMR is also part of every active shooter drill, evacuation drill, and trains alongside local fire departments.
Silloway stated AMR continues to grow to meet the needs of communities they serve daily.