AUSTIN - Austin-Travis County EMS added safe sleep rooms in a handful of its stations in 2017 to combat fatigue. And so far, they seem to be working.
The safe sleep rooms are spread out at stations in the northern, central, and southern parts of Travis County.
Each safe sleep room has a bed, blackout curtains, a white-noise machine and a fan. Medics use them to rest before driving home after a long shift.
Div. Chief Wesley Hopkins said some medics work either 24-hour or 12-hour shifts, and it's hard to predict how much sleep they get in between shifts.
But so far, Hopkins said he's received positive feedback from ATCEMS medics.
"I get stories from time to time and just unprompted emails from medics who say, 'I just utilized your safe sleep room. It's a phenomenal idea. This worked out really well,''' he said.
They plan to add more safe sleep rooms in the future, Hopkins said, but didn't specify when.
They're also trying to combat fatigue by using real-time monitoring on the trucks.
This technology notifies supervisors and commanders through email how many hours each crew member has worked that shift. This information allows them to decide who needs a break.
With the agency being understaffed, SXSW coming up soon, and the peak of flu season around the corner, Hopkins said medics need as much sleep as they can get.
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