FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – MedStar officials say construction delays near Interstate 35W has prompted them to place an ambulance near Westport Parkway during busy call periods to improve their response time.
The problem areas reach from North Tarrant Parkway to the Texas Motor Speedway, said MedStar spokesman Matt Zavadsky.
“It’s difficult to get an ambulance up there in a reasonable fashion,” he said.
In inner-city Fort Worth, Zavadsky said MedStar’s average response time is five-and-a-half minutes. In the problem areas, Zavadsky said that average increases by three minutes.
“We want to reduce our response times in that area,” he said. “Some are longer depending on wrecks on 35. With traffic patterns, it can be difficult getting an ambulance up in that far North Fort Worth area.”
Drivers who frequent that area say they understand completely. Ryan Hitchcock said he does his best to protect his children, and if there’s an emergency he hopes help is nearby.
“I would definitely want to make sure they are here quickly,” the father of three said. “You never know what can happen.”
Hitchcock lives in that problem area –– North Fort Worth. He echoed Zavadsky’s reasoning. So did Kristin Buckwheat, who commutes in the area regularly.
“I don’t know how an ambulance would get through,” she said. “My commute, it seems every few months to get longer and longer by a few minutes.”
The ambulances began being pre-stationed closer on Monday. MedStar says it hopes having an emergency vehicle in place will help overcome traffic and construction delays. Residents are comforted by the strategy.
“Three minutes could make a big difference sometimes, especially when your children are in need of medical attention,” Hitchcock said. “I like the idea. It benefits us as homeowners and parents.”
The city is paying for the pilot project, which will be tested for six months and evaluated. It’s estimated to cost $235,000.
MedStar covers 421 square miles in 15 North Texas cities.