How it Started

It all began in 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic struck, bringing unprecedented challenges to communities worldwide. As the virus spread, taking lives and overwhelming healthcare systems, our city faced a dire need for ambulances. The private provider we relied on couldn't keep up with the soaring demand, leaving us vulnerable. Recognizing the urgent situation, the Mission City Council took decisive action. Utilizing ARPA funds, they purchased Mission's first ambulance in 2021. With only three paramedics and a dozen EMTs at the time, our firefighters courageously stepped in to provide backup, hitting the road to serve our community in its time of need.

Fast forward a year, and the need for a robust emergency medical service had only grown. Our private provider still struggled to meet the demands of our rapidly expanding city. In response, the Mission City Council made another bold move by purchasing a second ambulance. Simultaneously, comprehensive surveys and studies revealed that a fire-based EMS system could offer superior care, faster response times, and a deeper connection to our community. Inspired by these findings, the Council initiated a plan to cross-train our firefighters, transforming them into paramedics and EMTs.

By 2023, the fruits of this initiative were evident. Mission acquired its third ambulance, and our team had expanded to include roughly 14 paramedics and dozens of EMTs. The transformation was remarkable. Later that year, with assistance from Hidalgo County, the Mission City Council added a fourth ambulance unit. As our firefighters continued their cross-training, Mission developed a comprehensive plan to transition to a primary fire-based EMS service.

April 2024 marked a historic moment for our city. Mission officially transitioned to a primary fire-based EMS system. This transition wasn't without its challenges and critics. Some individuals questioned the financial investment, but it's crucial to highlight that three ambulances and their equipment were purchased using ARPA funds, while the fourth ambulance was acquired with support from Hidalgo County. Despite these criticisms, our firefighters had already responded to approximately 1,500 calls as the primary EMS provider, demonstrating the effectiveness and necessity of this transition.

Mission's journey to becoming an all fire-based EMS department represents a significant leap forward in our ability to serve the community. National statistics show that cities with their own fire-based EMS departments consistently achieve better outcomes. Critics should recognize that since the inception of our fire-based EMS, numerous lives have been saved—a testament to the value of this investment.

The real value lies in the lives saved and the enhanced quality of care provided to our residents. The community should take pride in the leadership and vision that have driven these improvements. As we continue to strive for excellence, we remain committed to ensuring the best possible service for every member of our community.

Mission’s story is one of resilience, innovation, and a steadfast commitment to the well-being of our residents. Together, we have navigated a challenging landscape and emerged stronger, with a fire-based EMS department that stands as a beacon of hope and a model of excellence.