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‘Just not a safe place': Union critical of Texas medics stationed in apartments

Austin-Travis County EMS personnel have had equipment and medications stolen while stationed at apartments

By Bill Carey

TRAVIS COUNTY, Texas — Since 2019, some Austin-Travis County EMS medics working outside of Austin have been quartered in apartment buildings in Manor and other locations outside Austin.

Austin-Travis County EMS provides service to areas in Travis County that do not have an EMS system, like Manor, Bee Cave and Lakeway, KVUE reported.

Austin EMS Association President Selena Xie said the growth in Austin and unsuccessful attempts to find buildings for EMS stations have led to the apartment solution that has safety concerns.

“We’ve had our ambulances vandalized because they are just out in the open,” Xie said. “They are not behind a secure bay.”

Medics at the Manor apartment building said their garage had been malfunctioning and their body armor, PPE and medications had been stolen.

“It is just not a safe place,” Xie said. “It is not an appropriate place for public safety.”

The city recently opened a new fire and EMS station as part of its plan to build five stations in six years to decrease response times.

County officials invited Austin-Travis County EMS leaders to an emergency services subcommittee meeting to discuss the strategic plan for these stations. Xie hopes this meeting will lead to EMS personnel getting adequate resources to safely perform their duties.

“One thing that is upsetting to me and other medics is that we would never allow this set up for police, for firefighters,” Xie said. “We always make sure that they have adequate space for their needs, but we do not give the same thing to EMS.”