It’s something someone in need of medical care should not have to worry about: if and when an ambulance may break down.
However, that won’t be the case in Hardeman County anytime soon.
Hardeman County EMS recently acquired a new and much needed ambulance; but the upgrades aren’t done just yet.
“I love it every day. I don’t have to make myself get up and come to work.”
Hardeman County EMS Director Dale Fouse has been in charge since 2015.
This coming October will mark 20 years for him as an emergency responder.
And as EMS Director, one of his jobs is making sure the equipment his workers use is reliable.
“Trying to shop around to see what it would cost to fix it,” Fouse said.
He’s talking about the unit first used in 2005 and recently was only used in rotation, as it occasionally failed to start. At one point, it broke down.
“He came to me and told me the problem,” said Hardeman County Judge Ronald Ingram.
“We discussed it with Dale in commissioner’s court and we decided we’d be better off purchasing an ambulance.”
Originally, it would have cost tax payers $135,000; but Fouse discovered the ability to apply for a Governor’s Extraordinary Emergency Fund for Trauma and EMS grant..
That covers the entire cost.
“I told him he was a hero,” said Ingram.
“He saved the county a large amount of money.”
Despite being brand new on the outside, it’s on the inside where all the life-saving work happens.
And it’s also where the next round of upgrades are going to need to be made.
Starting next year, The state of Texas will require ambulance heart monitors to be able to transmit heart info to the receiving hospital.
Fouse pointed out that right now three monitors need to be replaced, at a cost of around $60,000.
And those are just the refurbished ones. Fouse says new monitors cost around $30,000 a piece.
And if they aren’t replaced, ” You can’t run cardiac monitors,” Fouse explained.
That would mean a downgrade in what they can offer, since they wouldn’t be able to provide certain critical-care services.
As to how the needed upgrades will be paid for is yet to be decided.
But Fouse said he’s looking for ways to save tax-payers money and of course lives.
Fouse also stated out that his crew not only services Hardeman County.
They handle emergencies from Lubbock to Amarillo: even more reason to have reliable equipment.