President of SA firefighter union says city lacks ambulances

SAN ANTONIO – The president of the San Antonio firefighter’s union said city leadership puts people in danger with the number of ambulances it runs and has proof from North Texas.

San Antonio Professional Firefighter's Association President Christopher Steele points to a report by the Dallas Morning News, in which Dallas Fire-Rescue Chief David Coatney said his department is under "substantial strain" with only 40 full-time ambulances. The San Antonio Fire Department has 34 full-time vehicles.

Steele said San Antonio has a higher population than Dallas and is working with fewer ambulances.

U.S. Census data shows San Antonio has 170,000 more people than the city of Dallas. It is larger by about 80 square miles.

The DFW area has more people, but places such as Denton and Plano have their own first responders.

Steele said like the chief in Dallas, his force is feeling the squeeze.

"The city manager and the mayor, they're decimating public safety," Steele said.

San Antonio Fire Department records management told KSAT 12 there were only two times in 2016 when EMS had fewer than eight ambulances available, once in February and once in December. There was an instance in December where every single vehicle was busy. KSAT 12 has not confirmed whether the two December events were the same.

"It should never happen," Steele said.

In a statement, Deputy Chief of San Antonio Fire Department Emergency Services Yvette Granato said any shortage is "rare and resolved in minutes." She said they added two ambulances this year and two new stations just opened.

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