Talisman Energy stepped up and donated $32,000 total to the two groups, a $17,000 elevated light tower for the Tilden and Calliham fire departments and a $15,000 chest compression machine for EMS.
“It varies but it has jumped greatly,” Tilden Fire Chief Jason Cooper said.
“You can go four days without hearing the pager going off and then boom,” Tina Lee-Serrata of Tilden EMS added.
Talisman’s donation is officially being made on June 15 at its first annual landowners appreciation picnic for its associates from LaSalle, McMullen and Live Oak counties and is part of its community investment budget.
Jack Showers, senior stakeholder relations adviser for Talisman Energy, sought out Cooper, Lee-Serrata and Calliham Fire Chief Will McBee to find out what equipment they needed to better serve the community and potentially save more lives.
“One of Talisman’s policies is we want to benefit the community where we operate and want to be a part of it,” Showers said.
Talisman also donated five $1,000 scholarships to graduating seniors in George West, Three Rivers, Tilden and Cotulla. They are also donating $10,000 to the playground in Three Rivers.
“We hope it will be a long-term project,” Showers said.
EMS’ new tool, a medical thumper, fits onto the chest and hooks up to the pulse and does chest compressions. While EMS responders are attending to the patient’s other needs, such as open wounds, the devise will do chest compressions and it will alert EMS responders if the vest isn’t properly fitted.
“It is a 35-minute ETA in Tilden, but it can be up to an hour of transport time too,” Lee-Serrata said. “It will greatly improve survival rates.”
Tilden and Calliham’s fire departments will share the rescue light any time there is a call at night or additional lighting is needed.
“There are very few of us in the county that are able to respond to the incidents and if we are holding a light it is hard to use the jaws of life,” McBee said. “None of us went looking for Jack, he came looking for us.”
McBee said having the light attached to the truck is convenient because it means having it on hand when it’s needed without needing an additional trailer or vehicle to use it. Cooper said fire crews have needed the light for a long time but haven’t been able to afford it. He also said they are trying to revamp the fire departments and this donation makes that easier.
“I appreciate the Talisman company. We need more companies like this that see the needs we have,” Cooper said. “The whole county is building infrastructure and we greatly appreciate it.”
Cooper estimated it will take about two or three weeks for the fire truck to get the light set up. Lee-Serrata said the chest compressor was ordered on Monday and should arrive within a couple or weeks. After that they will train their staff on how to use it.
Lee-Serrata said EMS is currently shorthanded with a staff of 10-12 responders, which increased from just four or five a week ago. Tilden and Calliham’s fire crews are also shorthanded with eight regular responders in Tilden and about five in Calliham.
McBee said they are always seeking more volunteers.
“They are the most dedicated group of volunteers in the area,” Showers said. “It is inspiring to me to see the dedication that they have.”
The fire departments hope to get a new pumper truck, bunker gear, breathing apparatuses and other equipment, according to Cooper. Lee-Serrata said the EMS ambulance needs to be replaced too as it spends more time in the repair shop than in the shed.
“Jack has been a godsend,” Lee-Serrata said.