State emergency organization recruits local health professionals for natural disasters

The Texas Emergency Medical Task force is preparing for future disasters by recruiting more local health professionals.

There are nine emergency medical task force regions in Texas used to help aid in local disasters. El Paso is part of region 9.

"The state of Texas has been very proactive in trying to prepare themselves for disaster response such as hurricanes, tornadoes and floods, wildline fire, anything that might come up,” said Steven Surface, who is the Texas EMTF Region <incomplete

The local emergency task force is funded by the state. They recruit health professionals from Del Sol and Las Palmas to help aid after natural disasters like Hurricane Harvey. But the organization is hoping to add more after a new partnership with University Medical Center and Providence.

“All paramedics, nurses, that's kind of why they got into the business is to help others and this is really on the hands-on ground level," said Janet Walker who is a volunteer from Del Sol Medical Center.

Once a new recruit signs up to volunteer for EMTF, they undergo several ongoing disaster trainings.

"A group of professionals coming together working with others, with a common goal. They achieve great things," said Wanda Helgesen, who is the executive director of Border RAC.

The health professionals volunteering with EMTF are paid through the state, which then reimburses the hospitals.

Preventing future natural disasters is impossible, but EMTF is hoping to stay prepared by receiving help from local hospitals.

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