AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - An upgraded fire truck is getting ready to ride on Amarillo streets this summer and will be the first of its kind in the fire department.
Engine 6 at Fire Station 6 is currently being upgraded with equipment to give the 39 AFD paramedics all the tools needed to perform what they’ve been trained to do.
“It’s us being stocked essentially to mirror an ambulance, which enables us to provide the same level of care with the same equipment that you may receive on an ambulance,” said Brigan Peterson, Firefighter-Paramedic at Amarillo Fire Department.
Since 2010, Amarillo Medical Services (AMS) has been the provider of ambulance services for the City of Amarillo.
In this partnership, AMS has helped stock AFD’s truck with the equipment it needs, so they can offer immediate help to more residents.
“When resources get depleted and we get strained for the amount of 911 calls and situations where we have mass casualty incidents where the system is over loaded," said Will Hendon, EMS Chief at Amarillo Medical Services. “Then, the more EMS providers we can put out there that have the proper equipment to manage a patient on scene in those serious incidents, the better off we’re going to be.”
The truck is currently being loaded with new medications, new equipment to help with things such as trapped airways and a LifePak monitor.
“We can hook the patient up to the monitor, run a 12-lead ECG and be able to detect if a patient is having a heart attack and notify the hospital quicker before we even get the patient in route, so they can get things prepared at the hospital to further help that patient when they arrive at the hospital,” said Chris Gibson, Firefighter-Paramedic at Amarillo Fire Department.
Although this is just one truck in AFD’s fleet, as both AMS and AFD continue to grow, the goal is to make more trucks function as a paramedic engine.
“We’re looking at improving not only our level of response in our region, but to be that staple and that example in not only just the state of Texas, but the nation, about what a good, efficient, and aggressive 911 system might look like between private entities and municipalities, like the Amarillo Fire Department,” said Peterson.
The Amarillo Fire Department hopes the truck will be able to operate as a paramedic engine within the next few weeks.