Rising Costs and Accidents Squeeze Emergency Workers
The recent surge in Texas energy production has brought a new set of hazards to communities facing the bulk of the drilling — including an increase in traffic accidents and chemical spills. That means more work for already understaffed emergency response units across small-town Texas.
In the West Texas city of Midland, which has seen its fair share of booms and busts over the years, firefighters face an additional set of off-the-clock challenges. Due to rising housing prices, those at the bottom of the department’s pay scale say they’ve been forced to work part-time jobs or room together just to make rent. That’s made it difficult for the department to attract and keep first responders.