Dallas fire chief working to improve ambulance shortage

Chief David Coatney is implementing staffing strategies to combat the shortage

By EMS1 Staff

DALLAS — Dallas Fire Chief David Coatney says he's working to combat the ambulance shortage in the city.

Although the need for ambulances increases annually, the city has not added any vehicles to their fleet, FOX4News.com reported.

“Sometimes, we have a shortage of ambulances. We have a large city, large call volume,” Chief Coatney said. “A few times over 2017, we've run out of units."

Chief Coatney said private ambulances and fire trucks can be used when a shortage occurs.

"It may create a delay for an actual ambulance to get to the scene. But a lot of cases — especially first responder unit, firefighter unit — you have paramedics on every fire unit in Dallas,” Chief Coatney said. “Well, most have paramedics on board. And they can start the care immediately. May be a slight delay in the transport of a patient, but we've found that to be roughly negligible.”

According to Chief Coatney, Dallas would ideally have 52 units. Currently, the city has 40.

Chief Coatney is utilizing staffing strategies and overtime to prevent running out of ambulances, but he said it is not a permanent solution.

“There's always work to do though,” he said. “If you keep asking people to work overtime, eventually they get worn out."

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