BELTON, Texas (KWTX) The City of Belton is operating just one ambulance after emergency medical technicians were forced to work consistent overtime shifts due because of short staff.
"For over six months now Belton has had a shortage in the fire department." city spokesman Paul Romer said.
One shift with the fire department is 24 hours, so those working overtime were putting in 48 straight hours, forcing the city to make the change.
“We need to keep those guys in good shape so the decision had to be made.” Romer said.
Beginning April 1, the department went down to one ambulance and has relied on AMR and Acadian ambulance services to help when needed.
The change is part of a three-month evaluation to study response times.
In July, city officials will evaluate the trial period and try to find a solution as they continue to combat retention problems in the department.
“I think ideally we'd like to hire EMS workers and get fully staffed there but the EMS market has been pretty tough.” Romer said.
“We're just not getting as many applicants as we need.”
In the meantime, the department is also dispatching fire trucks to emergencies when an ambulance can't be the first responder to make sure no matter what, help is on the way.