TRFD Chief Bobby Stewart said that each area of the county will soon be sending interested personnel to classes to help increase the number of first responders in the area.
“Medical first responders will be established out of the fire departments in Whitsett, Three Rivers, George West, Swinney Switch and Lagarto,” he said.
“As more first responders become certified throughout the county, each of the fire departments will be given the opportunity to branch out and apply for their own first responders license through the state, which would allow them to organize within their own department,” Stewart said.
According to Stewart, each fire department will organize their own first responders team, and the first class will be held at TRFD. After completing the classes and passing the test, each person who is certified is added to the state list of first responders, then given proper equipment and is ready to be called out.
“First responders are medics that volunteer their time to help assist the ambulance service gain quicker patient contact to help stabilize the medical needs of someone,” Stewart said.
“At one time, there were over 40 medical first responders throughout the county, and we are now down to five certified at this time.”
The certified first responders in Three Rivers are Glenda Riley, Steve Brosig, William Valentin, Michael Dobson and Ray Treviño.
TRFD and GWFD held a meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 20, to discuss grants to help with expenses. Grants would provide funding for the classes, as well as the money to purchase equipment for the first responders, including radios, rescue trucks and medical supplies. The cost for training is $110-150 per person.
Stewart said that grant applications will have to be put on hold for the time being.
“The class coordinator said that no more grant money is available this year, so the Emergency Service District will likely fund the first class until we can apply for a grant for next year,” he explained.
Gabriel Aleman from Angel Care Ambulance Service in Beeville is set to teach the classes at TRFD.
First responders must renew their license every four years to stay current.
“First responders are the greatest help when there is immediate threat to life or in the case of multi-patient situations where there are more patients than ambulances,” Stewart said.
Lindsey Shaffer is the regional editor and can be