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The City Council is expected on Tuesday (June 6) to consider a plan that would reestablish the Taylor Fire Department’s ability to take over emergency transporting services in the City of Taylor.
This week’s City of Taylor Podcast, "Coffee with Mayor Rick Sollars," discusses the program. Host Dr. Paul Reeves and Mayor Sollars are joined by City Councilman Tim Woolley and Fire Chief Stephen Portis.
TO HEAR THE PODCAST, CLICK HERE
The City has not performed the transporting services for medical emergencies for the past six years (with few exceptions). Under the previous administration of the late Mayor Jeffrey Lamarand, transport responsibilities were eliminated from the Fire Department and were handled by HealthLink, which is headquartered in Taylor. The cut was one of many in the TFD during that era, which saw staffing levels cut in more than half and a highly controversial political debate over a federal grant take place that pitted the previous council against former Mayor Lamarand in court.
Under Mayor Sollars, who took office in November 2013 (and is now running unopposed for a second, four-year term), the Fire Department staffing levels and administration was stabilized; an extension of the original FEMA SAFER grant was earned and then the City was able to capture another, smaller grant, which will run out later this summer. The Fire Department recertified and performed Advanced Life Support (ALS) functions, but left transporting to HealthLink.
Under the new transport plan to be considered by council on Tuesday, the department will have three ambulances (two new, one refurbished) operating out of all three fire stations in the community. The department will also be able to use its newer Chevrolet Tahoes in emergency situations. Beaumont transport will also be available, although the TFD would takeover the No. 1 role in the program.
During the podcast, Chief Portis points out three key issues:
Mayor Sollars admits that four years ago, or even two years ago, a plan like this would not have worked. But he is confident that this plan will work now, and in the future.