Cothran finds focus in family, community
by Jessica Loeding
Aug 18, 2014 | 1748 views | 0 0 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Brad Cothran is the public information officer for Bartow County EMS. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
Brad Cothran is the public information officer for Bartow County EMS. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
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Working as a public safety public information officer comes with a certain set of challenges, and for Bartow County EMS’s PIO Brad Cothran, there’s an added obstacle — the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

Designated PIO by EMS Director Kevin Garren, Cothran sees the position as an opportunity to increase the agency’s involvement in the community.

“[I have enjoyed] meeting people and making new friends but also feeling that I have been more involved in the community,” Cothran said. “… [Garren] informed me that he felt our EMS service needed to be more involved in the community and felt that I was the person to handle this position. I was very thankful and honored to be appointed.”

His excitement is evident — Cothran routinely releases information and statements on motor vehicle accidents, drownings and even shootings ahead of press inquiries.

The Bartow County native followed family into emergency medical services more than 20 years ago, also serving on the Bartow County Dive Team and as a deputy coroner for seven years.

But, more than his career, Cothran turns his focus to his family.

“My family lived on my grandparent’s farm above Cassville until I started the fourth grade in Emerson. … My grandparents are Albert and Faye Starnes and Charles and Betty Cothran. I learned so much from both my grandfathers and I do miss them dearly since they passed away,” he said.

An athlete during school, Cothran offered his skills as coach to his niece’s softball team, a moment that shines for the 45-year-old.

“The 2004 girls Little League softball team from here in Cartersville that finished second in the world was coached by my brother-in-law, my dad and myself. The young ladies on that team were a great bunch to be around and see the determination they put forward to reach this great goal. I believe that was one of the proudest moments in my life to be a part of that team,” Cothran said. “I now spend as much time as possible playing golf and being with my nieces and great-nephew. These kids mean everything to me and because of them my heart is full.”

Name: Brad Cothran

Age: 45

Occupation: Emergency Medical Technician — Intermediate and Public Information Officer with Bartow County EMS

City of Residence: Cartersville

Family: Parents are Berlon and Annette Cothran and Becky and Tim Shepherd; Michelle Bailey, my better half and sweetheart.

Education: 1987 graduate of Cass High School; EMT-I Diploma from North Metro Tech, 1995; PIO certificate from Federal Emergency Management Agency

How did you become involved in the EMS field?

A: My uncle, Don Starnes, and cousin, Danny Howell, both worked for Bartow County EMS, and after talking me into doing a ridealong with Danny, I fell in love with the EMS field. So I enrolled in an EMT class, and now, almost 20 years later, I still love running the calls and the job.

What do you see as being the most beneficial part of having a PIO for EMS? Biggest challenge?

A: Having a PIO lets the media know that I will release all information and this prevents confusion and will help assure that accurate and appropriate information is provided. The challenge is making sure that all the correct information is given promptly.

Is there an aspect of the emergency medical field you would change? If so, what and why?

A: I would like to see a better public education program for the community or even town hall-type meetings to help teach and explain to all the people in the community exactly what EMS really does, from the way we operate to the training and education that is involved in this field of work. I feel that most people think we just pick you up and transport you to the emergency room, but they don’t realize all the medical treatment that we can provide in the ambulance.

I would like to add that, if anyone would like to set up a meeting in their community, they can contact me or Director Kevin Garren at 770-387-5160 and we would be glad to come out and talk with everyone about the EMS service.

Is there a case or a moment in your career that has impacted your life?

A: I have ran many calls that have had an impact on my life, but picking any one call over the years is hard but having a positive effect on people’s life through a short interaction is great. I also have seen people at the worst time for them, and unfortunately, sometimes the outcome is not what we wish or worked for and that can be hard emotionally and mentally for anyone that works in this field.

With growth comes a certain set of challenges. How will those changes and obstacles affect your agency and the services you provide?

A: The growth is already here and is going to continue, so as the 911 provider for Bartow County, we must grow and keep up with these changes. Bartow County EMS is staying ahead of the growth with a plan of operation for the future.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

A: Most people don’t know that I have four sisters, and each of them had [a] child and they all had girls. But my oldest niece just had a boy, so finally another male to help keep these girls in line.

What makes Bartow County special?

A: This county is a beautiful place to grow up and live. The people in Bartow make this a wonderful, caring community. I feel like Bartow County has a lot to offer anyone looking to raise a family.

What talent do you lack that you would love to have?

A: I would like to learn the art of knitting and how to crochet. I always saw both my grandmothers doing both of these arts, but I never learned how.

What is your favorite meal?

A: Ribeye steak medium rare and lobster.

If you were stranded on a deserted island, what three things could you not live without?

A: Well the answer should be water, food and fire, but I would miss college football, air conditioning and my family.