SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Four ambulances and eight crew members have arrived in Shreveport to assist the fire department with calls for service amid a shortage of units and the latest surge in COVID cases.
The city says SFD is averaging around 140 calls for service a day on the ten ambulances it has.
“It’s ten units for a city this size,” explained SFD Assistant to the Fire Chief and Public Information Officer Clarence Reese. “Running out of med units is not something uncommon. It happens sometimes on a daily basis, multiple times a day. So our first responders are being asked for a lot.”
When no SFD ambulances are available, the department has relied on resources from neighboring agencies. The aid arriving Thursday came after the Shreveport Fire Department requested federal assistance through Caddo Parish Homeland Security, and it is coming from all over the country, including Arizona, Missouri, and Georgia.
Kansas-based American Medical Response says it has answered the call from FEMA to help communities hard-hit by COVID-19, including in Louisiana, dispatching 80 ambulances and more than 275 medical and command staff personnel.
Eight crew members from Arizona will be running the four Advance Life Support units that arrived in Shreveport on Thursday. But even with the help from the federal government, Reese says the public has a role to play in helping to keep medical services from becoming overwhelmed.
“Of course, we’re encouraging as many people as we can to get vaccinated. That helps decrease the symptoms. So we’re asking the public to do anything we can to help us. We still have to attend to trauma calls, the shootings and stabbings, the heart attacks, diabetic emergency. Then you add COVID and the delta variant to this, then it becomes a lot.”
The additional ambulances and crews will operate on 12-hour shifts and will respond from Shreveport Fire Station #1 (263 N. Common St) and #16 (5105 Hollywood Ave).