The city of Sugar Land has taken a significant step in implementing its own emergency medical service transport system with the purchase of its first ambulance in May. The EMS transport system—a service formerly provided by Fort Bend County—is expected to include five ambulances in total and will bring in additional EMS drivers, paramedics and other necessary personnel, Fire Chief Juan Adame said.

"The addition of our own ambulance transport system, increased paramedic certifications and expanded dispatch operations is expected to decrease response times for EMS calls," he said.

Before the start of the city's EMS transport system, the fire department was required to respond to all EMS calls. Fire personnel would then call for the EMS transport, which could typically add several minutes to response times, Adame said.

Planning for the creation of a city-owned ambulance transport system was a priority for the city in 2013, Adame said. In an effort to increase life support delivery standards, the department's medical director Joe Anzaldua recommended improving response times, creating a patient care reporting system to allow local hospitals to access patient records before arrival, and implementing an emergency medical dispatch system to send appropriate personnel and equipment to EMS calls, according to city officials.

In 2013, EMS calls represented about 60 percent of the SLFD's call volume, while structure fires accounted for an estimated 0.4 percent of calls, according to city data.

"The new [EMS] system should also increase readiness for fire calls, as the appropriate resources will be sent to calls for service," Adame said.