In their moment of need, and vulnerability, Galveston County residents can rest assured knowing Galveston Area Ambulance Authority (GAAA) is there to help and provide the highest quality of emergency medical care.

Providing timely and efficient care, all while being compassionate and helping their neighbors, is at the core of GAAA services. We will be celebrating National Emergency Medical Services Week, May 19 through May 25.

A lot of times, we’re not catching people on their best day. It’s usually when they’re most in need. I take pride in knowing the men and women who serve at GAAA do so because they’re passionate about helping others and being there in a time of need.

If you were to ask paramedics and emergency medical technicians (EMTs) why they do what they do day after day, you’re likely to get different answers. Some like the schedule flexibility, the camaraderie, the ability to learn through new experiences, or the rush of adrenaline that comes when the call goes out. However, the one common passion they all share is a true desire to help.

It can be challenging and emotional, but it’s so worth it.

As the county’s largest EMS agency, we provide extraordinary care to residents in Galveston, Jamaica Beach, Bayou Vista, Tiki Island, Hitchcock and unincorporated areas of Galveston County 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

In 2018, GAAA responded to 13,328 calls for medical emergencies including heart attacks, falls, injuries, motor vehicle accidents, drownings, cardiac arrests, strokes, drug overdoses and acute illnesses. We also responded to 3,371 non-emergency transfer calls, which often involves transferring patients between medical facilities.

Within the past year, GAAA, with the support of Galveston County Commissioners Court, added a peak hour unit in the Bacliff area and developed a continuing education program with approval from the Texas Department of State Health Services for employees.

I’ve really enjoyed our educational opportunities over the past year. It’s rewarding to see the growth within our service. I’m looking forward to building our field training officer program to help mentor and guide new medics.

Our service area spans 156-square miles and is as diverse and unique as our staff, with rural and urban areas, beaches and the waterways surrounding Galveston County.

We have paramedics and EMTs who are just beginning their careers, and this is their first time on the streets answering calls and we have those who are EMS veterans who have been in the industry for many years. Some have been with GAAA their entire career. Our EMS services go beyond paramedics and EMTs. There are many who work behind the scene, answering calls, dispatching crews, making sure our ambulances and vehicles continue to run. They all play a vital role in the services GAAA provides.

Emergency or non-emergency, each call is just as important as the one before and the one after.

Amy Weber is the director of emergency medical services at the Galveston County Health District.

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