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Lakehills houses ambulance crew for now

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The Lakehills area does not have a fulltime ambulance crew in operation as its residents have demanded, but it does have a part-time crew on board temporarily while the county decides if demand for service justifies keeping the crew there permanently.

Bandera County commissioners decided to add a two-person, peak shift of Emergency Medical Service personnel to the county budget this year to help the department handle calls for service when they are the heaviest –from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

EMS Director Calvin Plummer decided when the fiscal year started on Oct. 1, that the peak shift would be housed in Lakehills initially, both because the demand for ambulance service there had been growing and because the area had a station where the new crew could go while other stations already in operation did not.

Plummer said earlier this week that the decision to place the new crew in Lakehills was not a final one since he was still studying ambulance demand totals to determine if that was the location where an ambulance would be most useful.

Plummer said call totals in Lakehills started slowly last month but had been growing in recent weeks.

Plummer said he would need to look at demand totals over a several months before feeling comfortable about where to assign the peak shift ambulance crew.

He also said the Lakehills Support Team of community volunteers had done a good job of updating an ambulance station that had been open in Lakehills years ago when the county was served by a volunteer EMS force rather than a paid force.

The peak shift crew that uses the station was satisfied with the condition of the remodeled station, which has separate bathrooms for men and women with showers, along with a kitchen and an area where the crew could relax between calls.

The support team provided the funds, between $5,000 and $7,000 by one estimate, for the improvements, and the Medina Lake Volunteer Fire Department provided much of the labor, officials said.

That support team is holding an open house at the ambulance station on Saturday, Nov. 9, to let the public see the improvements that have been made.

It then will move to the Lakehills Civic Center where the team will elect officers for the new year, said Bandera County Constable Ernest C. Reich III, who is the support team’s vice president.

The open house will start about 10 a.m. and may only last about 30 minutes, said Reich. The ambulance station is located at 192 5th St. East in Lakehills.

The meeting at the civic center, which is located at 11225 PR 37 in Lakehills, will follow the open house.

Reich said anyone living in the Lakehills area is considered a member of the support team, a nonprofit organization that has no dues.

Lakehills residents have attended commissioners’ court meetings for months to urge the county to bring an ambulance to the heavily populated area in the southeast side of the county so assistance can get to emergency calls faster.

Reich, who once drove the ambulance in Lakehills when the service was provided by volunteers, acknowledged that the amount of calls in an area fluctuates over time. That could make it hard to predict what Plummer’s demand count will show.

“All we can hope for is the numbers will satisfy everybody,” said Reich.