Wendy Alexander/Madera Tribune File Photo
Lance Hoffrage of Pistoresi Ambulance shows Omar Rojas, 4, what the inside of an ambulance looks like during the 2017 National Night Out at Madera District Fairgrounds.
On one of the worst days of a person’s life, they can rely on the expertise of one local family to ease their pain.
The Pistoresi family has been in the ambulance business for three quarters of a century. Founded in 1942 by Pete Pistoresi of Chowchilla, his son Monte and his grandson Ted own the business today. They moved the company to Madera in 1982. They provide service in Madera, Chowchilla and the Ranchos with Sierra Ambulance in Oakhurst responding to calls in Eastern Madera County.
Including 31 full and an additional 15 part-time employees, the company headquarters are at 113 N. R Street.
The business operates with its staff living quarters provided in area fire stations and at two residences they maintain as a home away from home for on-duty personnel. The paramedics and emergency medical technicians often work up to 24-hour shifts, typically rotating one day on, one day off.
Ted Pistoresi began his training in the field while still in high school. He had his Emergency Medical Technician license before high school graduation in June 1983. He worked for his father summers while attending Santa Clara University. Upon graduation in 1987, he joined an insurance agency. After two years, he finished his paramedic training in 1990 and joined the family business.
Ambulance personnel are licensed through the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians and must be re-certified every two years, (Ted) Pistoresi said. The process includes mandatory continuing education.
Becoming an EMT takes about a semester of intense study, he said. Paramedics carry advanced training, include clinical studies at teaching hospitals. The process for paramedic certification takes about two years.
Of Monte and Leona’s four children, Ted is the youngest and the only one in the medical field. His two older brothers, Tim, is a stock broker and Mike is a Certified Public Account. Their sister, Patti Pistoresi-Pereyra works at Warnock Foods.
Pistoresi Ambulance is rich in institutional memory with many longtime employees.
Its office manager, Cathy Rodriguez, has worked for more than three decades, joining the company as a Madera High School senior. She said she began learning about the business part-time through a work-study program in 1984. Rodriguez supervises the office staff and billing departments. It is also her job to schedule the paramedics’ and EMT’s shifts.
During the fall, there is a Pistoresi Ambulance standing by at football games for Madera, Madera South, Liberty and Chowchilla high schools. Earlier this month, there were ambulances on site at the Madera District Fair and an ambulance is also standing by at the speedway during auto races, Rodriguez said.
“When a person dials 911, the call is answered by Fresno Communication Center,” she said. “If a person should call our office number after hours, that call is also forwarded to the dispatch center.”
In addition to Pistoresi Ambulance, the center dispatches Sierra, American and South Valley ambulances too. Where the service areas overlap, the closest unit responds for a medical emergency.
“An ambulance driven by an EMT with a paramedic on board responds to the address requesting service,” said (Ted). “Depending on the nature of the call, law enforcement and/or a firetruck may also respond.”
In the cities of Madera and Chowchilla, a police car responds. In the county a sheriff’s deputy will be sent as necessary.
The National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians website states candidates for EMT certification must display a wide variety of skills as they are typically the first link in the chain of emergency medical services available.
The offices of Pistoresi Ambulance are open weekdays, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“But we are staffed 24/7/365,” said Rodriguez.
She is also the contact person if someone calls in sick or can’t work their shift for some reason.