In an old Dial dated January 16, 1958, Roger St. Vincent and Archie Rinehart, two Civil Air Patrol members, are pictured with a 1938 Buick that was purchased for the purpose of organizing a rescue squad in Boscobel built around the ambulance unit. They purchased it themselves and they had first aid training, at the time that was all that was needed. They launched what is known as the Boscobel Rescue Squad, a non-profit organization that remains to this day a no charge ambulance service, staffed by volunteers, on call 24/7.
Over the course of the years many of our founding fathers have passed on, but not before they saw many changes. In 1974 the state required an 80-hour course to be certified as an Emergency Medical Technician. The course included doing blood pressures, splinting, controlling bleeding, even tracheotomies (no longer being taught), and child birth. The course was taught by doctors and had a 100-question exam and practical demonstrations. Today, the course may teach some of the same things, but epinephrin (for allergic reactions), glucagon (for diabetic problems), defibulators (heart related problems), as well as CPR are all part of the course. An exam and practical demonstrations are still part of the program. Once the person becomes an EMT (Emergency Medical Techinician), they go through a refresher course every two years to keep up to date.
Over the course of the years the cost to maintain and purchase these vehicles has also increased. Our founding fathers purchased the first ambulance, that 1938 Buick with their own monies. They operated it with money from the generous donations from the community. There was never a donation that was considered too small. The same holds true for today. All donations are greatly appreciated and none are ever considered too small. So don't be afraid to donate to a great organization.
By DAVID KRIER
Ambulance services throughout Grant County are short handed, and are actively recruiting new members for entry-level Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) classes that start in August.
"It's not for everybody, but we'd like to find people who think they might be interested in joining us and then sit down and have an in-depth conversation with them about the full scope of the commitment," says Jerry Berge, Boscobel Rescue Squad Chief. "We have six potential EMTs lined up for classes on the 15th, so we're hopeful."
Grant County is served by 13 ambulance services and four first responder units, nearly all of which are in dire need of additional volunteers.
"With the current shortage of volunteers, it's getting difficult for many services to staff a crew 24 hours a day," notes Grant County EMS Association President Steve Braun. According to Braun, the most difficult time to find volunteers is during the day, because many volunteers are unable to leave work.
"When people call 9-1-1, they expect an ambulance to respond immediately," said Braun.
In critical emergencies, such as a heart attack, seconds count.
Braun hopes that two up-coming EMT-Basic courses will provide the volunteers needed for 24-hour cover-age in all communities throughout the county, in-cluding Boscobel. The courses are both scheduled to begin on Aug. 15.
An evening class is scheduled at the Lancaster Fire Station, running Mondays and Wednesdays from 6-10 p.m. A daytime course is scheduled at Southwest Tech in Fennimore, running from 8 a.m.- noon, also on Mondays and Wednesdays. No prior medical experience is necessary. Although there are not age requirements to take the class, you must be 18 years old to hold a Wisconsin EMT license.
The EMT-Basic course consists of 144 hours of basic medical and trauma training. At the end of the class, recruits take a written exam and a practical exam. The practical exam consists of six stations, including assessing a patient for a trauma emergency, assessing a patient for a medical emergency, splinting a fracture, operating a bag valve mask to assist with breathing, operating a defibrillator for a cardiac arrest, and applying proper spinal immobilization.
The class is geared towards non-traditional students-people who have been out of school for a while, but "The instructors from Southwest Tech do a great job of ensuring everyone is prepared to take the test when they complete the course," says Braun.
Braun believes that one of the things that holds potential recruits back is the fear that a new EMT might not be able to handle a difficult situation or a complicated medical problem.
"We don't throw people into a situation like that right after they receive their certification," says Braun. "New EMTs are always paired with more experienced members, who will take the lead when necessary."
Wisconsin regulations require a minimum of two licensed EMTs in every ambulance, and most services schedule at least three members per call.
"EMT training starts in the classroom, but nobody expects a recruit to come out of class and know everything. Some of the most important things you learn are passed down by more experienced EMTs out in the field," says Braun.
Southwest Tech is also offering a 50-hour RN to EMT bridge course that meets Thursday nights beginning Sept. 15. The Boscobel Rescue Squad already has one RN riding along as an EMT, but Berge would like to see more join the effort.
"We think it's a great idea," Berge says. "I'd like to see more RNs become involved; they're highly trained and motivated."
Like most ambulance services, the Boscobel Rescue Squad covers the cost of tuition and books for the class. Many services also offer ride-along programs, where prospective students can accompany the crew on calls for a week or two to learn more about what is involved in being an EMT.
Students can register for the EMT course by contacting Berge at (608) 732-4894, or Lisa Lange with the Southwest Tech Public Services Department, at 822-2415.