BEAVER, WV (WVNS) — Out on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic are the first responders, whether it is police, firefighters, or paramedics. Charles Simmons II is an emergency vehicle operator with Jan-Care. He said the job allows him to do what he loves.
“I like the interactions with the patients. I just like helping people,” Simmons said.
But now, in the midst of a global pandemic, many places across the state shut their doors to allow people like Simmons to get certified or re-certified. However, Travis Copenhaver, the Director of EMS Programs at New River Community and Technical College, said the college reopened its doors at the Pearson Testing Center to Emergency Medical Services.
“The administration of the college found it was a vital necessity that we allow for the EMTs, paramedics, and Advanced EMTs to do their initial testing in our center and open our center publicly for the state of West Virginia,” Copenhaver said.
Currently, they are the only ones in the state to have a testing center open for these first responders. In the midst of a global pandemic, having these people properly certified and on the front lines is a big deal.
“You know with COVID-19 and all that, we can always use certified people. Just for that reason, really because there’s a lot of new cases that are going to start coming out. You got to have certified people who can get them to the proper facilities,” Simmons said.
Alberto Razo, an instructional specialist at NRCTC, said they are providing these resources in a time when first responders are needed and to a state filled with many rural areas.
“We’re putting the resources back out there in the field, even new resources, new emts, new paramedics, so yeah we are helping out the state,” Razo said.