STINNETT, TX (KFDA) - Some ambulance services in our area receive funding from the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service or TEEX.
The Texas Rural/Frontier EMS fund typically covers instructor fees for EMR and EMT courses, which brings the cost down significantly for those who enroll.
Stinnett EMS Director Jeff Stieg said their program continues to grow and produce certified EMT’s who stay local to serve their own community.
“If you’re in Stinnett or Spearman or a smaller community that’s more rural, further away, then without TEEX it would be harder,” he said. “And then the funding, of course, helps to make it more feasible for some people to take the class that wouldn’t have otherwise been able to. So whereas we get 30 people, we might get four or five if we didn’t have TEEX.”
Some other services that receive TEEX funding, like Wellington EMS, say it continues to be a struggle to retain those who train for emergency medical response to work for the EMS.
“Right now, we’ve only got 10 on our service in Wellington and only eight of them are running active at this time,” said EMT with Wellington EMS Farris Nation. “So that’s sort of hard to fill a schedule that way.”
Wellington EMS also has only one paramedic and one other advanced personnel position, which they said is even harder to recruit.
“EMT Basic and EMR helps but we need more programs that could get us more advanced people,” said Nation. “We seem to be losing the ability to gain that advanced personnel, because they can go off and get higher paying jobs at other places.”
“EMS is changing and it’s getting harder and harder to find volunteers, especially in the smaller communities that are primarily volunteer,” said Stieg. “And a lot of the people that have been doing it for years have retired or gotten older and not able to do it anymore. And the classes are not as easy to come by nowadays.”
Stinnett EMT Kristy Killough, who will serve as an EMR instructor next year, encourages those who are interested to consider furthering their education to better serve the community.
“Stinnett used to be a volunteer service, but now that we do have more certified people, we were able to make it full time,” she said. “So that’s able for us to help people more often, better times, more education for the people that do work for the EMS service now.”