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      New ambulance ordinance in McAllen

      For 10 years, Alvin Patina has worked as a first responder on the streets of McAllen.

      He said he keeps a close eye on his unit and equipment--to make sure everything stays in compliance with the law.

      "This ambulance is equipped with all the state required equipment and the quantities-- they're very stringent on that," Patina said.

      With the City of McAllen getting ready to start requiring all ambulance companies to meet very specific guidelines, Patina said he is glad he keeps that close eye on his fleet.

      "We think that it is a positive issue because there are companies out there that try to fly under the radar," Patina said. "We want all companies to provide excellent quality service."

      The new ordinance will require any ambulance company that wants to commence operations on the streets of McAllen to obtain a permit from the city.

      The McAllen fire department will be in charge of these permits and will check everything from employees backgrounds to the ambulance itself.

      "We want to make sure that other ambulances, that aren't contracted through 911, meet the requirements of being equipped with the medical equipment and personnel as per the guidelines set forth by the State Home Health Services," Chief Roy Rubio said.

      To apply for the permit, the ambulance company will have to fork over $500 and an additional $25 for each unit in the fleet.

      The city will only be conducting these inspection three months out of the year---October, November, and December.

      The permit is good for 365 days.