Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat


September 6, 2011

Elmore EMTs proud of community service

Noteworthy Neighbor

Pauls Valley, Oklahoma — Hospitals have the distinction of being the most common place citizens turn to in times of health related emergencies, but for those towns too small for their own facilities, they can depend just as much on what is available before they arrive.

While Elmore City is one of those places depending on larger Oklahoma medical hubs like Pauls Valley or Norman, they are fortunate enough to be able to handle first response through their own EMT center. Helping make it happen on a regular basis are those like EMT director Jason Cook and more recent addition Katie Nowlin.

“A lot of people don’t know what to do in an emergency situation,” said Nowlin, who grew up in Davis. “There’s got to be someone there to help.”

There is always someone on call at the center 24/7 and the seven EMTs split up their time throughout the week, said Cook, who spends three days a week there. Both agreed the primary motivation to be in the job is being there when people need them the most.

Many of the people who work for the EMT center either know the area very well already or learn it rather quickly, like Cook who is a native of Elmore City. He graduated from the local high school in 2002 and has been involved for seven years, first as a volunteer and then getting inspired to take on necessary training.

Yet, many times the EMTs depend as much on cooperation with other agencies like being on standby for firefighters who have been swamped by one of the most aggressive grass fire seasons ever seen. Their calls can range from wrecks to heat exhaustion calls and when patients need advance medical care, meeting with paramedics who take them to appropriate facilities.

“We get a lot of help from fire department guys,” said Cook, who was inspired to make EMT a paid career path after the first accidents he responded to as a volunteer. “We help each other out.”

Since very few work the gig full time, the EMTs often have another source of income like police officer or related medical work. When Cook is not at the center, he spends most of his time working for the Ardmore Fire Department and Nowlin also works with the Pauls Valley General Hospital ambulance service.

“It’s a really fun job, something fun every day,” said Nowlin, who gained inspiration from her Mom who is a registered nurse. “No two calls are the same.”

 However, the job isn’t only about being ready to respond to calls in a 300 square mile radius and those at the EMT center are often involved in helping out the community in other ways. The two ambulance trucks are always a hit at places like schools or vacation bible school and people are also able to depend on a few medical perks not necessarily dependent on hospitals.

One think Cook said people take advantage of in the surrounding area is receive basic medical attention like first aid. Of course, if people want to learn how they too can save lives, they occasionally offer first aid certification along with Adult/Infant/Child CPR classes.

In the long run, Cook plans to stick around in his current double duty career path while Nowlin would like to some day become a dental hygienist. Both appreciate the lessons they’ve learned on the job and are employed through the city.

“You have to love what you got to do,” said Cook. “Everyone is really good people, we’re out there risking out lives.”

To reach the EMT center or inquire about training, they can be reached at 580-788-2723.

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