Hometown Heroes: Katrina Sanders Key

Words by Anna Lee Vaughn | Images by Justin Hunter

“All the ladies in my family are nurses, so I always wanted to join the medical field,” Katrina says. “But I grew up watching the television show Rescue 911, and there was just something about Emergency Medical Services that I really enjoyed.”

Katrina became a mother at a young age, and following the birth of her second child, she embarked on her journey towards becoming a paramedic at Bevill State Community College (BSCC). Shortly thereafter, she joined the ranks of Regional Paramedic Services (RPS). A decade of dedicated service with RPS saw her honing her skills as a paramedic before she decided to return to BSCC to pursue a nursing career. For approximately ten years, Katrina provided her expertise in local hospitals.

However, in 2014, a new opportunity presented itself when Katrina was offered the position of a flight nurse at AirEvac. Just four years later, she seized the chance to establish her very own base.

“In 2018, RPS approached me about opening a helicopter service here in Jasper. So, I launched RAMS and have been flying with them ever since. I just love it. To me, it’s an incredibly rewarding job; you know that you’re making a difference in someone’s life because you’re there on their worst day,” Katrina says.

Today, Katrina serves as the Program Director of RAMS and manages bases in Walker County and Bessemer. Alongside her active participation as a crew member, her responsibilities entail crew training and daily base operations. Possessing both a paramedic license and a critical care paramedic license, Katrina holds certifications as a flight nurse and an emergency room nurse.

In addition to her professional roles, Katrina extends her expertise to the community by offering CPR and Stop the Bleed classes to organizations like local fire departments and boards of education. She firmly believes that such outreach education greatly benefits the citizens of Walker County. Katrina also offers encouragement to those aspiring to join the EMS field, emphasizing the importance of dedication, study, and seeking opportunities in areas with high standards of care.

“I’ve gotten to help so many members of this community and been able to follow up with their care. Because they know me and I know them, they have that trust in me.” Katrina continues, “So, I don’t see myself ever doing anything else. I don’t see myself leaving Walker County. It’s a simple little story. It’s just me doing a job that I love.”

Those interested in shadowing, becoming a flight medic or flight nurse, or taking life-saving classes may contact RAMS at FlyRAMS64@gmail.com. WL

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