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The University Star




The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Opinion: Hays County needs to improve its EMS response time

EMS+column+Illustration
EMS column Illustration

In life-or-death situations, every minute counts. In Hays County, the response time of emergency medical service (EMS) has been rising by the minute over the past five years, according to the San Antonio Express-News.
In what can be considered vulnerable areas, EMS can take more than 10 minutes to reach its destination. Hays County’s government has addressed this problem but this is just a start.
Over the summer, Hays County received two ambulances from the federal government. Funds from the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan need to be applied as soon as possible, and we must do more to save lives.
Mortality rates are higher when EMS response times are longer. If someone is in dire need of lifesaving services, it can be lethal if it takes longer.
In the U.S. in 2020, 38,824 lost their lives in motor vehicle crashes, the highest since 2007, according to research from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In addition, according to a National Library of Medicine study, the number of minutes ascending for EMS response will not go down, as the longer the response time for motor vehicle crashes, the higher the mortality rate.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in America. Researchers from the Journal of the American Heart Association found that shortening ambulance response times increases the chances of surviving a heart attack.
Adding more diverse paramedics in neighborhoods where demand for change is high will also make our community safer.
Response time in specific communities takes longer, and the minutes spent waiting for EMS resources continue to increase. In lower-income neighborhoods, EMS can take 3.8 more minutes, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association.
There is a proposal in the county’s commissioner’s court for $3 million in renovations to a fire department located on the east side of I-35 in San Marcos, where response times exceed other areas and the price for construction continues to rise. This will help speed up EMS response time in those communities where, in many instances, it takes more than 10 minutes for EMS to arrive.
Furthermore, more diversity in the industry is desperately needed. In 2019, 81% of newly nationally certified paramedics were white, according to Wiley. When the people treating patients do not look like them, treatment is different. Also, there are differences in what hospitals Black and Hispanic patients get dropped off at, according to an article by STAT.
Building a better groundwork in areas of need could help recruit genuine community members to help lower response time and recover people.
Overall, these investments will help the community be more prepared for the emergencies that come with Hays County’s steady population growth plus unexpected disasters.
Texas has various possible natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, thunderstorms, winter storms and extreme heat. Non-natural disasters like fires or drownings can occur at any time. Additionally, guns outnumber people in America and Texas has some of the weakest gun laws in the country. Such a populous state with lax gun laws increases the chance of mass shootings.
EMS and first responders risk their lives during these events, and ensuring their preparedness is vital. Giving emergency services the necessary tools to prepare for emergencies or accidents and supplementing existing resources will save lives.
There are doubts about the validity of EMS studies relating to mortality rates. For-profit ambulances have also caused people to get an Uber or Lyft to the emergency room because of how expensive a ride can be without the proper healthcare. Finding the funds to build an appropriate framework to put resources where they need to be is never guaranteed to be the end of all problems solution.
Therefore, there is a need for what they are proposing to be in motion, but they must go further.
– Dillon Strine is a journalism senior
The University Star welcomes Letters to the Editor from its readers. All submissions are reviewed and considered by the Editor-in-Chief and Opinions Editor for publication. Not all letters are guaranteed for publication.

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