Dallas seeks national aid to tackle ambulance shortage

Dallas seeks national aid to tackle ambulance shortage

Illustration of an ambulance symbol with an exclamation point in the middle of it.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Fire departments across Texas are waiting longer than usual to update their ambulance fleets, driving up costs and forcing many of them to use older vehicles to make calls. Is.

why it matters: First responders need a reliable, maintainable ambulance without the high mileage to ensure fast response times.

  • But current microchip shortages, global supply chain issues and slow plant production make it difficult to replace old ambulances.

running news: Arlington Fire Chief Don Crosan told Axios that fire officials across Texas are writing a letter to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, urging his department to help find a solution.

  • Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson recently wrote his own letter For Buttigieg, asking for help. He said the delay jeopardizes public safety in Texas and across the United States.

threat level: Garland would get a new ambulance within four months of placing the order. Wait times are up to a year due to supply chain issues, a fire department spokesman tells Axios.

  • In Dallas, the wait time between placing an order and delivery is now at least 24 months, according to the mayor’s letter.

of comment: The severe weather around North Texas over the past year has further reduced the fleet. Dallas lost more than four dozen emergency vehicles to flooding in August.

zoom out: Austin typically orders about 15 new ambulances at a time to maintain its fleet of 80 to 90 vehicles. This year, the city has had to use older vehicles, increasing maintenance costs by $3 million, Johnson wrote.

  • And Houston’s order for Ford F-150s this year has been extended to next year, which will cost the city more because 2023 rates are higher.

yes but: Arlington is not struggling as the city partners with a private ambulance company that invested in a new fleet during the peak of the pandemic.

  • The Arlington fire chief still plans to sign a letter to Buttigieg statewide to help other departments make their case.

Bottom-line: “Citizens depend on us for a reasonably reliable fleet, and this is an important issue. I hope the federal government will help us make sure these priorities are being met,” says Crosson.

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