MATHIS, Texas — Nora Coronado is the administrative assistant for the Mathis EMS Department. Usually she sits behind the scenes answering phone calls with “Mathis EMS. This is Nora. How can I help you?”
But now she’s training to be an EMT through a course the Annaville Fire Department is offering for free.
“I live here in town and I just thought it would be something that would help our community,” she said.
The course is teaching Coronado and 24 others the skills they’ll need on the field, like how to take blood pressure, how to perform CPR and how to listen to lungs.
When asked about how she’s feeling about getting out on the field, Coronado responded with, “exciting, nervous, but hey, I’m in it for the ride.”
However, it’s been a rough ride for the Mathis EMS Department. The pandemic and higher pay in other healthcare jobs has contributed to their shortage of EMTs.
Paul Pulley is the Mathis EMS chief, and said this course is going to give Mathis the opportunity to build their workforce. They have two full-time positions open and a few part-time positions available.
“For a lot of people that are going to be taking this course, this is an opportunity for them to not only serve their community and EMS, but to maybe potentially further their education in healthcare,” Chief Pulley said.
About 25 miles away, the Annaville Fire Department is also helping the Mathis EMS Department respond to calls, because they don’t just have a lack of EMTs, they also lack ambulances.
Kevin Ramon, the EMS lieutenant for the Annaville Fire Department, said sometimes they respond to calls that can be 30 minutes away in Mathis.
Ramon said this course will help the Mathis EMS Department build up their EMTs because it’s an accelerated course. He said usually the course takes a year to complete, but the potential EMTs like Coronado will finish up in three months and then take an exam to become certified.
“We see ourselves as a big family, so it is very common for us to go outside our boundaries or limits to help one another,” Chief Ramon said.
Coronado said this course would help her connect with her community, and advised to those hesitant in joining, “come ride with us one day and see if you like it.”