EMS Station next to Spicewood Elementary
EMS Station next to Spicewood Elementary

Burnet County ESD No. 9 Makes Plans for an
Emergency Medical Services Station in Spicewood


Spicewood, Texas – (November 15, 2016) - It was just one year ago that Spicewood voters approved a 2% sales and use tax for Burnet County ESD No. 9 (ESD9) to raise additional funding for emergency medical services. Today, with those funds beginning to accumulate, ESD9 is actively exploring property near the Spicewood Elementary school to locate a new Emergency Medical Service (EMS) station.

“Today 80% of all calls received by the Spicewood VFD-EMS are medical in nature,” explained Byron Zinn, President and Commissioner of ESD9. “And while the Spicewood VFD-EMS first responders are generally on site within 10 minutes of an emergency medical call, it still takes an average of 22 minutes for paramedics to arrive from Marble Falls. Our goal is to reduce that response time by 60%.”

In exploring potential locations for the new EMS station, the ESD 9 taskforce identified several key criteria: proximity to residential areas, easy access to Hwy 71, and affordability. Last night the Marble Falls ISD School Board unanimously approved a resolution in support of donating approximately one acre of land beside the Spicewood Elementary School to facilitate the completion of an EMS station which will serve the health, welfare, and safety needs of the public. “We think this is not only the right thing to do for the community,” announced Dr. Chris Allen, Superintendent of Marble Falls ISD, “but it will also provide an EMS station right next to Spicewood Elementary, which greatly benefits our staff and students.”

Although still in the early stages, plans are for the building and the land to be owned by Burnet County ESD 9, with the station operated by Marble Falls Area EMS (MFAEMS). Under the new strategy, Spicewood VFD and the new EMS station would be dispatched simultaneously when a medical call is received. EMS First Responders, located throughout the community, will be equipped with emergency kits in their own vehicles with additional paramedic support and patient transport available from the new station. It’s anticipated that the SVFD first responders, under the direction of SVFD EMS Director, Patsy Lester, will be on site in just a few minutes, with paramedic support just moments behind.

“We’re excited to build on our already strong relationship with the Spicewood Community” commented Johnny Campbell, Executive Director, MFAEMS. “We’ve worked closely with Patsy and her team for years and operate under the same medical director. They have an extremely dedicated and experienced corps of EMS volunteers, and frankly, we couldn’t do our jobs without them. They are able to resolve or stabilize most situations by the time we arrive on scene.” Commissioner Zinn concurred, noting that “the EMS volunteers at SVFD have served this community for decades. Dean and Patsy Lester, and most of their family and friends, have grown the SVFD in to what it is today. The community owes them a great deal of gratitude.”

Moving forward, the next steps are for ESD9 to complete the necessary engineering, architectural, and traffic flow studies. Assuming all goes well, the new station could be up and operational by the end of 2017.

About Burnet County ESD No. 9
Burnet County ESD No. 9 is a political subdivision of the State of Texas established in November 2013 under Ch 775 of the Texas Health and Safety Code after area voters overwhelmingly approved the measure. It is governed in accordance with applicable law by a board of volunteer, uncompensated emergency services commissioners appointed by the Burnet County Commissioners Court. The District has adopted as its mission statement: “Burnet County ESD 9 exists to promote the health, welfare and safety of residents and visitors to our District by providing highly effective and efficient fire and life safety services through prudent use of available resources.” For more information, visit www.burnetcountyesd9.org

About Marble Falls Area EMS
Marble Falls Area EMS is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit corporation established in 1976 by a dedicated group of volunteers. Over the past twenty years, service has grown from a small volunteer service to a fully paid ambulance service that provides quality pre-hospital care to some 47,000 citizens in Southern Burnet and Southeastern Llano Counties. The MFAEMS service area spans over 350 square miles with many miles of lake and river shoreline which provides a unique call mixture of rescue/trauma and medical responses. MFAEMS is governed by a volunteer board of directors that meets on the third Wednesday of every month at their central station in Marble Falls, TX. For more information visit, www.marblefallsareaems.org

About Spicewood VFD-EMS, Inc
Spicewood VFD-‐‐EMS, Inc is a non profit Texas corporation qualified for tax-‐‐exempt status under Section 501(c) (4) of the Internal Revenue Code. The department has provided volunteer fire and emergency medical services to the Burnet County Spicewood community since its founding in 1976 and responds with trained volunteers to hundreds of calls each year for emergency services. For more details, or if you are interested in volunteering with the Spicewood VFDEMS, visit www.spicewoodvfd.org.

For additional information contact:
Burnet County ESD No 9
Karen Bruett, Commissioner & Vice President

Marble Falls ISD
Dr. Chris Allen, Superintendent

Marble Falls Area EMS
Johnny Campbell, Executive Director
830 693-7277

Spicewood VFD-EMS, Inc
Patsy Lester, EMS Director

How much revenue has been raised by the sales and use tax?
Initial estimates were $200,000/year. We have yet to complete a full year of collections but that estimate appears to be fairly accurate.

How many EMS calls does the SVFD/EMS receive?
SVFD/EMS responds to an average of 25 calls/month. Roughly 80% of those calls, 20/month, are medical in nature, and of those, 60%, require ambulance transport. That translates to about 240 EMS calls and over 140 ambulance transports each year. As the population continues to grow, and as traffic along Highway 71 increases, those numbers will continue to increase.

How many first responders are there?
Currently there are 15 certified first responders. That number fluctuates because they are all volunteers. If anyone is interested in becoming a first responder. they should contact Patsy Lester.

What is the anticipated cost of building the station?
We have not yet secured proposals for building, but anticipate the cost to be in the $250,000 to $300,000 range plus any additional costs necessary for road easements to allow easy access in and out of the facility.

What is the anticipated annual cost of running the station?
According to MFAEMS, operational costs to provide 24 X7 paramedic service and ambulance transport is $500,000/year. Because this will be a satellite station for a service that already exists we expect to receive some significant economies of scale to reduce those costs.

How will the station be staffed?
Currently we are looking at utilizing MFAEMS paramedics on rotating shifts. Budget and funding will determine whether 24X7 service can be provided or if we initially begin by staffing the station at 12 hours/day.

What other locations did you look at beside the elementary school?
We have looked at several other sites, and those conversations are ongoing. Should we run into any unanticipated obstacles with the Spicewood Elementary School location, we will continue those discussions.

Who is building the new station?
Engineering work is being done by Willis Engineering from Marble Falls, and architectural designs are being done by Jackson Associates also from Marble Falls. In accordance with state law, we will go out to bid for the building construction. We do not anticipate entertaining bids until early 2017