GAAA expands services to Kemah, Clear Lake Shores
Galveston Area Ambulance Authority (GAAA) on Tuesday began providing emergency medical care to Kemah and Clear Lake Shores after officially taking over emergency medical services (EMS) for both cities.
Services began at midnight Tuesday with Medic 9, housed at the Kemah Volunteer Fire Department.
“We are excited to provide the highest quality of emergency medical care to residents, businesses and visitors of Kemah and Clear Lake Shores,” GAAA Director of EMS Amy Weber said. “I can’t say enough about the great group of men and women who will serve in those communities. They are just as excited as I am about this opportunity.”
Medic 9 in Kemah will be staffed with three crews rotating shifts, 24/7. An EMS supervisor will also be on site Monday-Friday, Weber said. Medics 6 and 8, located in Bacliff, will be available for assistance if needed. Medic 9 will utilize an ambulance provided by the cities.
Kemah and Clear Lake Shores now join a GAAA coverage area that includes Galveston, Jamaica Beach, Bayou Vista, Tiki Island, Hitchcock and unincorporated areas of Galveston County including Bacliff, Bayshore and San Leon.
“The communities are unique in that Kemah has a boardwalk and amusement center while Clear Lake Shores boasts the distinction of ‘Yachting Capital of Texas’,” Weber said, “but similar to the areas we serve on the island. We know we’ll be serving a large tourist population in the spring and summer months.”
The two communities totaled 560 emergency calls in 2018, and Weber expects call volume to stay relatively the same. GAAA will not provide non-emergency call service to Kemah or Clear Lake Shores. As of the 2010 census, Kemah boasted a population of 1,773 and Clear Lake Shores 1,063, reported on each city’s respective website.
GAAA is the county’s largest EMS agency. In 2018, crews 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. The authority also responded to 3,371 non-emergency transfer calls, which often involves transferring patients between medical facilities.
The service area for GAAA is unique in that it includes rural areas, urban areas, beaches and the waterways surrounding Galveston County.
GAAA currently has roughly 80 employees.
“A lot of times, we’re not catching people on their best day. It’s usually when they are most in need and vulnerable,” Weber said. “I take pride in knowing the men and women who serve at GAAA do so because they are passionate about helping others and being there in a time of need. It can be challenging, and emotional, but it is so worth it.”
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 for employees with approval from the Texas Department of State Health Services.
Funding for services will come from Galveston County and the cities of Kemah and Clear Lake Shores. Clients transported via GAAA will also be charged for services.
“I’m excited to have the opportunity to branch out and offer our services to a new area. It’s exciting to see that growth and expansion,” Weber said. “I have a fantastic team. I cannot say enough good things about them, and I know that same work ethic and care will be evident in Kemah and Clear Lake Shores.”