At their regular meeting on Tuesday, the City Council voted unanimously to approve a plan for the Georgetown Fire Department to upgrade their capacity to provide advanced life support and conduct EMS transport. Starting on October 1, the Fire Department will become the primary EMS provider in Georgetown and in the Emergency Services District covered by the department.
According to the plan, the Fire Department will hire six additional positions later this year. The Fire Department hired 12 paramedics in February, including those with experience from cities in Texas and other states. By October 1, the Fire Department plans to have 32 paramedics on staff.
The department also will purchase two more Transitional Response Vehicles in addition to the two TRVs delivered last month for a total of four TRVs. These dual-purpose vehicles carry equipment for fire and rescue response as well as EMS equipment for medical calls and transport of patients. In addition, Georgetown will transition its fire engines to be fully advanced life support vehicles with capability and function similar to a rolling emergency room.
In addition, emergency dispatch for fire, police, and EMS in the Georgetown area will be through the City of Georgetown 911 center. Providing emergency dispatch for EMS calls will reduce delays and call transfers and improve operational efficiency.
Changes for EMS in Georgetown are the result of two years of discussions between the City and Williamson County. The City of Georgetown initially proposed an integrated response in which the Georgetown Fire Department and Williamson County EMS shared 911 medical calls in the area. However, the City and County could not come to an agreement on such an integrated response.
“As we do every day, we will continue to work cooperatively with Williamson County,” says Georgetown Fire Chief John Sullivan. “For fire or medical calls to 911 in the Georgetown area, 75 percent are medical. The percentage of medical calls is even higher in areas like Sun City. This transition to an enhanced EMS response for Georgetown makes sense in providing the best emergency care for our residents. Additional paramedics and TRVs will enable a faster medical response with more responders that have a higher level of medical training than the current system.”
Georgetown has an aging population that is unique to Williamson County and Central Texas. Nearly 30 percent of the population is older than 60 years of age and the demand for pre-hospital medical services is expected to grow in the future.