by Anayeli Ruiz
BIG LAKE - What if you called 9-1-1 but there wasn't enough people to respond to your emergency? That's what the Big Lake volunteer fire crews and EMS department are dealing with. They're having issues with volunteers not making it out to those calls.
"We need the people. That's what we need the most, we need to put the people on the ambulance. Ambulance cant do anything with out the people," Destin Wilha, with the Reagan County Sheriff's Department, said.
Wilha is a Sheriff Deputy for Reagan County and he is also a volunteer for the EMS service and Fire Department in Big Lake. He knows first hand how hard it can be to get people to respond to an emergency.
"The few people that do and can, are just not enough for what we need," Wilha said.
"It creates a problem during the day at normal working hours when they're at their regular jobs," Big Lake Fire Chief, Allan Garner, said.
That's because the calls have increased and less people are willing to volunteer. So County Commissioners have stepped up to find a solution.
"Commissioners Court, City Council and hospital board have met and formed a committee to investigate and find out the best way to handle our situation," Reagan County Judge, Larry Isom, said.
The committee is looking at two possibilities. To hire enough local people to handle it or to hire an outside company to come in and manage it for them. Some want to keep the service in town.
"To be private, it's gonna cost tax dollars, it's gonna cost citizens more money. In order to keep it local, it's gonna be cheaper on our tax dollars. I feel like we are gonna get a lot more out of it. I believe we are short changing ourselves by not giving ourselves a chance first," Wilha said.
"Personally I like to keep it ourselves, that way we can run it ourselves, operate it as a county, create a little better personal service. Nothing against the private ambulance services but we feel like we can do it cheaper and better," Garner said.