Lake Country This Month

August, 2014

Lake Country This Month

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By Katherine Michalets Special to The Enterprise DOUSMAN — When a medical emer- gency occurs, the level of care provid- ed and how quickly that happens directly affect the patient's outcome. As municipalities around Waukesha County continue to grow and the num- ber of calls their fire departments respond to increases, several depart- ments have upgraded their emergency medical service licenses, including Dousman earlier this month. Dousman Fire District Chief Steve Totzke said the decision to upgrade its emergency medical services to the paramedic level was partially due to an increase in call volume, but was most- ly a result of the type of calls it received. A few years ago, the depart- ment was receiving around 500 calls. This year, Totzke said the department is on pace to respond to 1,400 calls for service. In recent years, Dousman formed an intermunicipal agreement with Summit and the Town of Ottawa to provide fire and EMS coverage. The district also provides emergency medi- cal services to the village of Sullivan, Town of Sullivan and Concord in Jef- ferson County. Totzke said the criteria for determin- ing if a department should upgrade its services to paramedic level include whether it is getting the number and type of serious incident calls required to support it. In Dousman's case, that was definitely so. Totzke predicts the area will only keep growing, as will the calls. Step up in training In order to upgrade to the paramedic service level, members of the Dous- man Fire District received additional training, and new personnel were hired. There is a cost involved with upgrad- ing to the paramedic level, so two years ago when Dousman consolidated ser- vices with Summit, Totzke said fundraising started in anticipation of the upgrade. The level of training offered at Waukesha County Technical College is some of the best in the country, accord- ing to Pewaukee Fire Chief Kevin Bierce. The Pewaukee Fire Department, which covers the city and village, increased its level of service to the paramedic level three years ago this month. Like Dousman, Pewaukee's decision to upgrade was based on delivering the high level of service its citizens want- ed and the types of emergency calls the department was receiving, Bierce said. As a result of getting paramedic- level care soon after an incident hap- pens, Bierce said, time spent in a hos- pital is often decreased for the patient and less insurance money is required. Trending Bierce believes municipalities upgrading their level of emergency medical services is a statewide trend. "The state and the national trend is to deliver better pre-hospital care," Bierce said. Gregory West, dean of protective ser- vices at WCTC, agreed that more departments are moving toward the paramedic level, but he said it's not an easy transition, often because of the amount of education involved. The amount of training for an emer- gency medical technician is 215 hours. To get to the paramedic level, add another 1,200 hours of training, West said. WCTC also offers critical care training, which is another 120 hours on top of the education required to become a paramedic. Critical care allows a department to perform inter- facility transport, such as taking a patient from one hospital to another. It can also be a financial transition, too, West said, because many depart- ments that make that switch have part- time, paid-on-call or volunteer EMTs. The training requires them to spend even more time away from their fami- lies, and, as a result of the increased level of training they receive, those individuals often are busier on the ser- vices. Paramedic course work costs around $5,000, compared to $750 in tuition for EMTs. Some tips for you and your dog Lake Country T H I S M O N T H Lake Country This Month is free and will arrive in your mail the third week of each month. In each month's edition we will take an in- depth look at an issue, person or other story in Lake Country. We will also provide other important information such as community activi- ties and updates on local stories. We encourage you to subscribe to the daily Freeman or the weekly Enterprise for coverage of Lake Country and other parts of our area. To subscribe, to reach one of the editors with story ideas or for photo reprints, call 542-2500. We hope you enjoy this month's edition. – Freeman and Enterprise editors Hello, Lake Country! INSIDE Calendar of community events 6A PRSRT STD US POSTAGE PAID WAUKESHA, WI PERMIT NO. 3 238247005 238426003 Like us on Facebook: Follow us on Twitter: Barbara Eash antiques column 6A 5A Malling finds stride at Arrowhead 8A The FREEMAN & ENTERPRISE AUGUST 2014 Responding to the call for service Fire departments upgrade level of medical response Charles Auer/Enterprise Staff A Dousman Fire District ambulance. The department has begun to provide paramedic advanced life support services. See EMS, PAGE 6A

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