The city of Horseshoe Bay and Marble Falls Area EMS celebrate 20 years of working together to provide top-quality emergency medical services to southeast Llano County.
“We have a great working relationship with the Horseshoe Bay Fire Department, Horseshoe Bay police, the (emergency service district), AIR-EVAC (Lifeteam), and the city,” said Johnny Campbell, Marble Falls Area EMS executive director. “I think those relationships have benefited everyone, especially the people who live there.”
Marble Falls Area EMS predates the incorporation of Horseshoe Bay. Prior to 2001, then-Llano EMS had provided emergency medical services to the area. Campbell said things didn’t work out for the previous EMS provider, and the Marble Falls entity stepped in to help.
At the time, Marble Falls Area EMS contracted with the then-Horseshoe Bay Municipal Utility District, which became the city of Horseshoe Bay in 2005.
When Marble Falls Area EMS began covering Horseshoe Bay and southeastern Llano County, crews responded to 20-25 calls a month in that area. Now, Campbell said it’s probably three times as many and looks only to increase with more people moving to the area and the impending opening of a new assisted-living, longterm care facility.
Marble Falls Area EMS stations an ambulance with a two-person crew at the Horseshoe Bay Central Fire Station at #1 Community Drive. This allows the unit to provide 24-hour, seven-day-a-week coverage to the area. Currently, the unit is averaging about an eight-minute response time to most of Horseshoe Bay, Campbell said, although it might take longer for places such as Deer Haven, Sandy Harbor, and Oak Haven.
Along with the Marble Falls Area EMS units, the Horseshoe Bay Fire Department has a second station on the west side of the city that provides first response to that area until an ambulance arrives.
“It’s a great partnership,” Campbell said.
A big step in emergency medical services for southeast Llano County and southern Burnet County came in 2002 when residents in those areas voted to establish the Llano County Emergency Service District 1 and Burnet County ESD 1. An ESD is a taxing entity that funds local emergency services. Campbell explained this allowed for a constant and regular stream of funding for emergency medical services.
The 20-year relationship with Horseshoe Bay and southern Llano County is just one part of Marble Falls Area EMS’s story. The organization started in 1976 to provide emergency medical services to southern Burnet County and Marble Falls.
Campbell pointed out that, in the late 1990s and even early 2000s, many communities such as Spicewood, Granite Shoals, and Horseshoe Bay provided their own EMS. But for a number of reasons — including cost and state regulations — many of those smaller units closed or consolidated.
Marble Falls Area EMS was able to pick up most of the coverage for southern Burnet County. Currently, the organization has five ambulances with units stationed on Marble Falls, Horseshoe Bay, Granite Shoals, and Spicewood. Each ambulance has a two-person team consisting of at least one paramedic and one EMT. Three crews are assigned to each ambulance rotating over three shifts. This allows those areas to get complete, around-the-clock EMS coverage.
Marble Falls EMS currently employs about 40 people with 30 of them assigned to the ambulances.
While the Marble Falls entity celebrates serving Horseshoe Bay and southeastern Llano County, along with those relationships built the past two decades, Campbell said he and his crews are equally committed to every community in which they operate.
“We’re looking forward to the next 20 years in Horseshoe Bay,” he said. “And we’re looking forward to working with all the communities we serve and continuing to offer the best emergency medical care available.”