Marble Falls Area EMS launched two EMT Basic Initial Education Courses in 2021, one at the high school and the other for adults. Both offer certification and job possibilities. Courtesy photo
Marble Falls Area EMS began a new program and expanded another in 2021, both preventative. First, it turned a part-time community outreach coordinator into a full-time position. Second, it established an EMT Basic Education Course in an effort to prevent a shortage of emergency care workers.
Marble Falls Area EMS Lt. Vaughn Hamilton was tapped for the full-time role of community outreach coordinator by Executive Director Johnny Campbell. Hamilton previously split his time between working with an ambulance crew and community outreach work.
The community outreach program took root at the suggestion of several EMS staff members who noticed a trend in calls for what the EMS refers to as non-emergency health issues. These calls include safety checks on people who stopped receiving Meals on Wheels, people who need medications and have no way to getting them, or homebound residents without home health care.
Vaughn became the go-to guy to follow up with phone checks or face-to-face visits, freeing other EMS personnel to respond to emergency calls.
“(Hamilton) had one patient who lost over 200 pounds after he worked with him on diet and medications, and stuff like that, so it’s a really cool program,” Campbell said. “He’s been doing that for a couple of years.”
Along with assisting in non-emergency calls, Hamilton also coordinates first aid and CPR courses.
The program is a favorite of elected officials across the Highland Lakes, Campbell said.
“The community program is something we always get asked about, whether we’re at (Burnet County) Commissioners Court or (Marble Falls) City Council (meetings,” Campbell continued. “They’re very interested in how it works. It’s almost like an EMS home health type deal.”
Precinct 4 Commissioner Joe Don Dockery is one of the program’s fans.
“This is a great program,” he said. “People use it, and I find people are in need of that. Vaughn’s program finds a lot of underlying issues that, hopefully, as a community, we can fight.”
The EMT Basic Education Course provides training for those looking to learn a skill for better paying work and who want to stay in the Highland Lakes. An EMT class now available on campus for Marble Falls High School students was recently expanded to include adults. The first class launched in June 2021 and finished in October with 15 students.
The class costs $1,800 and is taught by Michelle Schwake, who has been in charge of the high school program almost as long as it’s been in place, Campbell said. The students, both high school and adult, receive certification through the Texas Department of State Health Services.
“The EMT program is 60 hours, (and) there’s some clinical mix in there,” Campbell said. “They have to do ride-outs in ambulances. They have to do clinical rotations in the emergency room.”
Equally important, once students receive their certification, they can apply for EMT jobs with the Marble Falls Area EMS, for which the starting annual salary is $38,000 with full benefits.
“We have hired a couple out of the high school EMT class,” Campbell said. “It works out really well. It’s a good program.”
Campbell said preparations are underway for the next course in 2022. Interested people should call Marble Falls Area EMS at 830-693-7277.