The Cross Timbers Emergency Response Team (CTERT) is raffling off a 42-inch flat screen high-definition television to help raise funds for their first responders. The television is on display at Gifford TV and Electronics. Tickets can be purchased from any CTERT member for $5 each or get three chances for $10.

The drawing will be held at a $5 hamburger supper at the Stephenville City Park on Oct. 10. The supper starts at 5 p.m. and the drawing is at 7:30 p.m. Door prizes will also be given away.

The winner not only wins the brand new television, but Gifford’s will deliver, hook up and install the television and stand within 100 miles of Stephenville for free.

First responders are dispatched to aid county medical personnel during medical emergencies and trauma calls. For example, when two children were thrown from a vehicle during a traffic accident on US Highway 377 over the weekend, first responders arrived to help evaluate the scene and condition of the children. 

“Our main goal is to get there before the ambulance,” said CTERT Assistant Chief Cody Miller. “We are dispatched to any call that an ambulance is dispatched to.”

First responders work to evaluate the patient and stabilize them if necessary, then contact the ambulance to give them more information about the situation.

Miller said CTERT first responders also help during public and school events.

During large fires, like the one on FM 205, first responders set up shop on scene to treat firefighters who were exhausted, overheated or injured.

Miller said the team also provides CPR and first aid classes for the general public.

CTERT began in 1993 as the Morgan Mill Volunteer First Responders and the only organized first responder group in rural Erath County.

Over the years, the non-profit organization grew and now provides services to a large portion of the county. South Point, the county’s only other licensed first responder team, responds to calls in the southern part of the county.

CTERT Chief Chris Elston said they use volunteers who live across the county to reach patients far outside of Stephenville’s city limits.

“Our ultimate goal is to help people who are farthest away from city limits,” Elston said, adding that more remote areas of the county are 40 minutes away from the nearest ambulance.

Even though the group functions solely on volunteer manpower, Miller said the team is highly trained.

“Most of the fundraising money goes to equipping new members and to training,” Miller said. “Every one of our members has to be certified.”

The team pays $2,346 to train and equip each beginning first responder. Members of CTERT can work up to paramedic status. At that level, it costs $4,906 for the necessary classes and equipment.

Like the multiple volunteer fire departments in the county, CTERT does receive some funding from the county, but they mainly rely on donations and grants to help cover the costs of training, supplies, insurance and equipment for all 27 members.

CTERT and South Point are licensed through the state as first responders. They work with a medical director and perform duties under the director’s medical license.

Although the groups are separate entities, they are both comprised of volunteers and rely on community financial support. And even though they are responsible for responding to calls in separate areas, they maintain a mutual aid agreement that allows volunteers to go on calls anywhere in the county.

“All of our members respond in personal vehicles,” Elston said, adding that each member also pays for their own gas.

South Point Chief Greg Thompson said members also carry supplies in their own vehicles so that they are prepared for calls at any time.

“When the ambulance is toned out, we are called out as well,” Thompson said. “We are the first ones called and we’re supposed to be the first ones on scene.”

For more information about the CTERT raffle or to buy tickets, contact Elston at 595-0864 or Janet Howle at 967-0571.

For more information about CTERT, visit their Web site at www.crosstimbers-ert.com.