Manvel EMS Director Dave Ferguson says call volume for the EMS ambulances has increased from around 100 each month when the facility first opened in 2011. Ferguson explained that EMS has not received fewer than 100 calls in more than 18-months. In March a record 158 calls for service were received and he says that is the case throughout the county. Of the eleven services Ferguson interacts with he says they all are experiencing from 10 to 20% increases in their call volumes over the past year. He attributes the increase to the increased amount of construction occurring in the southern part of the county along with the increase in population growth that is most prevalent in the northern part of the county.
Currently Manvel EMS staff operates one truck 24-hours every day. As Ferguson explains it, “we are trying to cover peak times with a second truck. We are not quite at a point of needing a second truck 24-hours a day but we are trying to add coverage with a second truck where the demand is highest so that we can cover those calls.” Peak time is varied, but March data shows Tuesday and Wednesday as the busiest days. Friday is a close third with Monday and Thursday showing little demand. “Typically our calls come early in the morning, around rush hour, and into the mid-morning and then they start happening again about the time school is dismissed. We are trying to cover that.”
Manvel EMS currently employs nine full-time positions and twelve part-time positions. Ferguson said the service just brought on a couple additional part-timers in anticipation of the extra shifts being added and expects to add still more positions as demand grows on the primary service vehicle. The Emergency Services District has budgeted a new truck for Manvel that is expected to be delivered in early 2016. Ferguson explained that he is not yet sure if that will be a remount of an existing ambulance or an entirely new ambulance added to the fleet. “The box is not what wears out, typically on the ambulance it is the chassis. We try to get about seven years’ service out of them.” Three ambulances are currently in the fleet. The newest vehicle is a 2008 model, the others are a 2006 and a 2002.
Ferguson says his group is busy and describes their purpose as staying “ahead of the demand and putting the resources there so we can serve the public when those calls do come in. The challenge is marrying your response to the demand with the funds that are available. Funding challenges is part of what we do; it’s typical of the industry anywhere you go. It’s particularly hard when you are growing as it is sort of the cart before the horse scenario. You know that when the growth comes the tax dollars will be there to help subsidize the business but so will the call volume. The trick is balancing the two.”