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Rescue squad works to improve services
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CUBA CITY—The Cuba City Area Rescue Squad (CCARS) is expanding its services to include the use of intravenous (I.V.) technology.

CCARS will be able to offer advanced emergency medical care to its patients.  This means that residents will be able to receive advanced life support interventions before they reach a hospital. An Advanced Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) service is licensed to initiate and monitor IV therapy as well as administration of several medications such as aspirin, 50 percent Dextrose, Narcan, Atrovent and nitroglycerin.  In addition, the service will be licensed to gain access to a direct route for medication administration through interosseous infusion.

Jim Gerhads, president of CCARS, said he anticipates the new practices will be implemented by August 2013. He said the process to apply for and receive approval from the State EMS office for the Advanced EMT level contains several steps. 

“We have completed the feasibility study, obtained support from our advisory board as well as our medical director and have several trained AEMTs on our service,” Gerhards said. “We are in the process of obtaining approval for our protocols. When they are approved and we have all mandatory equipment and medications, we will be able to provide the AEMT services.”

Gerhards said the services have been pursued because of an increase in call volume each year.

“We identified a need for advanced level EMS services within our coverage area,” Gerhards said. “Our call volumes continue to increase each year and we feel this is the time to begin offering these services.”

The AEMT builds upon the skills and knowledge of an experienced EMT. The course is 150 hours in length, which includes both classroom and clinical/field experience. IV therapy, medication administration, pathophysiology, advanced anatomy and physiology, critical decision making skills and advanced patient assessment are just a sample of the knowledge an AEMT student will acquire. It is a very rigorous course. 

After the successful completion of the course, the AEMT candidate will be eligible to take the National Registry AEMT practical and cognitive exams in order to become licensed in the state of Wisconsin as an AEMT. In order to renew the license, the AEMT will need to complete 42 hours of refresher training every two years as well as maintain a current healthcare provider CPR credential.

CCARS currently has four EMT students, five EMT basics and six EMT advance volunteers.

The basic EMT class is 180 hours in length and consists of both classroom and field/clinical training.  EMTs are often the first to respond to emergency medical and trauma calls.  EMTs assess and manage all types of injuries and illnesses, while providing safe and rapid transport to a medical facility. EMTs are also trained in Health Care Provider CPR and defibrillation.  In addition to being highly trained in managing medical emergencies, the EMT must be caring and compassionate. The EMTs and drivers on the CCARS service respond to calls day and night.  CCARS is a volunteer service. After completion of the course the EMT candidate is eligible to take the cognitive and practical exams from the National Registry. Successful completion of the National Registry exams allows the EMT to apply for licensure in the state of Wisconsin.

CCARS personnel usually responds to approximately 300 calls annually.