By: Special to The Laredo Sun
For the first time in the program’s history, the Emergency Medical Technician-Paramedic Certificate program will be offered outside of Laredo. “We’re extremely excited about offering this one-year program in Zapata County because we’ll be able to provide a service outside our usual realm,” Manuel Ramirez, LCC’s EMS Program director, said.
“This is one of the best opportunities residents in that area can get because we’ll be going to their neighborhood and all they have to do is really take advantage of this opportunity.” Classes will be offered on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays in the newly constructed Zapata County Technical and Advanced Education Center.
To be eligible, applicants must be 18 years of age or older, have a high school diploma or equivalent, and have a current Emergency Medical Technician-Basic certification from the Texas Department of State Health Services.
The program also is open to residents from Starr and Jim Hogg counties, which, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services, have been identified as having primary care health shortages, and currently lack a hospital to treat injured or wounded patients.
Some of the first students who intend to sign up for the program next spring are current Zapata County firefighters. From the 33 firefighters within the department, less than a dozen possess an EMT-Paramedic Certificate.
“We’ll be benefitting from this program quite a bit because our firefighters don’t have to travel far away to gain this type of training,” Juan Jose Meza, a 36-year firefighter and Zapata County Fire Department chief, said.
“My goal is to have all the firefighters in Zapata have a paramedic certificate because with it, they can run an intensive care unit, (administer) ‘hard drugs,’ and run heart monitors for patients who have been in automobile accidents, have suffered a heart attack, or gunshot wounds,” Meza added.
“It’s not only a great step for our department, but for our community as well.”
The LCC EMS Program is accredited by the Texas Department of State Health Services and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. For more information on the paramedic training program, contact Manuel Ramirez, the program’s director, at 721-5261 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.