The city of Peñitas is in the process of finalizing a contract with Hidalgo County EMS at no cost to the city.
At least one ambulance will be stationed at the substation at 2001 3 Mile Road. City Manager Omar Romero said this will significantly cut down ambulance travel time to the Pueblo de Palmas community.
Peñitas will also be the first city in the county to have defibrillators installed into their police units, according to Romero. When talking about the benefits of this program, he referenced the recent death of community member Jesus (Chuy) Avendaño, who had a heart attack and was pronounced dead at the hospital.
“We’re going to have police officers trained on their use that way if something happens like with Mr. Avendaño, if someone is having a heart attack or someone is under cardiac arrest and police are the first ones to the scene, they can at least stabilize the person while the ambulance gets there,” the city manager explained.
He said the most important factor in deciding on ambulance services is city coverage. Hidalgo County EMS also has contracts with Palmview and La Joya. This means that ambulances will be nearby in case Peñitas community members need assistance at more than one location.
“If all the other units are stationed in Weslaco or Alamo, by the time they transition units over to Peñitas to provide coverage, you could be talking 10 to 20 minutes and that’s the difference between life and death for someone having a heart attack,” Romero said. “Hidalgo County EMS has the ability to shift units and provide extra coverage that way there’s never any absent coverage for the area.”
Hidalgo County EMS also uses the latest technology for GPS and radio, in addition to a dispatch center with interface capabilities. Other EMS companies that the city met with were not able to offer these services.
With development of the volunteer fire department, the city is in the process of securing grants to build a firehouse. Once the firehouse is built the ambulance would transfer over to the firehouse location.