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SFD will get 4 additional ambulances + crew to deal with COVID surge

SFD received four ambulance trucks and eight crew members.
SFD received four ambulance trucks and eight crew members.(KSLA)
Published: Aug. 18, 2021 at 5:03 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 19, 2021 at 3:04 PM CDT
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SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - The Shreveport Fire Department received four additional ambulances and eight additional crew members on Thursday, Aug. 19 to help deal with the current surge of COVID-19 cases.

The fire department requested the federal help via the Caddo Parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness.

“Agencies and hospitals in our area are becoming overwhelmed by the significant influx of COVID patients,” said Mayor Adrian Perkins. “It is vital for us to provide essential resources to our first responders who provide critical care for those patients.”

The mayor’s office says right now, SFD is averaging around 140 calls per day and running with 10 ambulances. When no ambulance is available, the department relies on help from nearby agencies.

“We’re thankful to the federal government for the assistance that has been provided,” said Shreveport Fire Chief Scott Wolverton. “This will have an immediate impact on our medics who are dealing with the increased call volume on a daily basis.”

One reason why SFD called on the federal government for more paramedics was to help with response times. Assistant to the Fire Chief Clarence Reese says they are experiencing a high call volume.

“Right now it’s trending up. It started with about 120 calls a day, right now we’re at 140. The busiest day we had was back in May with 181 calls and that’s doing it with 10 medic units,” he said.

He says the crew are only contracted for 30 days as of now. After that 30 day period, an evaluation will take place to see if they are needed for longer.

The state of Louisiana received 50 ambulance units, each with a two-person crew. Their jobs are to travel around the country to help communities in need.

The crew members come from all over the United States and are randomly selected to different locations. Rafe Waters is the task force manager and he’s from Georgia.

“We assisted in other areas around the nation so this recent surge, we have people in Missouri, Louisiana, Mississippi,” he said.

Waters said he is not new to deployment work. He’s been doing it for five years.

“Every time I started working in EMS many, many years ago I found that I really like helping people and helping out communities,” he said.

The crew will work out of Shreveport Fire Station #1 (263 N Common St.) and #16 (5105 Hollywood Ave.).

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