By Pilar Martin
SEDGWICK – The new Sedgwick Emergency Services Director, Jennifer Cisneros, officially started her new position last week. She was introduced during a city council meeting Oct. 17.
Cisneros will face challenges from the start as the Sedgwick EMS department has grappled with a lack of staff and the city’s financial problems. There has been talk this year of building a new fire and EMS station but there have not been votes on the city council to approve a new station.
Cisneros grew up in Downs and her interest in Emergency Service began when she was just 14. “I grew up in a house where my mom was not very healthy. At one point the ambulance came, and I was fascinated by the way they worked. They were so calm, kind, and such a tremendous help,” she said.
As she followed behind the ambulance to the emergency room in Hays, she said she felt that was something she wanted to do.
After graduating from high school, she went to Cloud County Community College, then on to Fort Hays State University, majoring in Elementary Education. “I was almost done with my bachelors degree, when knew I was in the wrong profession,” she said.
She married, moved to Texas and then California, before moving back home to help care for her ailing mother. “I wanted my three children to know their grandmother before she was gone,” Cisneros said.
She was working at a convenience store and the EMS guys stopped by regularly for gas and coffee. “They asked if I wanted to help out by driving the ambulance, and that’s how I got back into it,” she added. “ I figured there was never a better opportunity.”
In 2008, Cisneros took her first class, a first responder class. She realized after the third call she was not going to do it anymore or learn a lot more.
She decided to learn more, driving back and forth to Hays, she finished her EMT class. “Once I was certified, I started working for Osborne County and did that for several years,” she said. Cisneros, at that same time, also worked as a full time EMT for Smith County.
She heard Russell County wanted to hire a new director. “Russell County had a hospital- based EMS service. They wanted to change and become a county operation, separate of the hospital,” Cisneros said. She was hired and began the transition to a county EMS service.
Here new position was contingent upon her certifying as a paramedic. That was the next logical step in her education to fulfill her dreams that started at the young age of 14.
Cisneros worked to build that county department. She said it took her about a year to get a full staff on board and everything in place. “By the time I left, the EMS department was a full service department. All of the burned bridges were rebuilt and professionalism was back.”
She was happy in her job, but wanted to move closer to Wichita. She heard about the opening in Sedgwick and applied.
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