Village scores six EMTs amid staffing crisis

New additions are cause for excitement as other departments struggle to hire personnel
By 
COREY SCHMIDT
Ozaukee Press staff

This Tuesday, the Saukville Fire Department welcomed six new emergency medical technicians to its ranks.

The new EMTs attended Milwaukee Area Technical College and completed their clinicals to volunteer for the department. Their education was funded by the Village of Saukville with help from state funding.

Saukville Fire Chief Bill Rice is excited about these new additions because the department, and other neighboring communities, have been struggling with their EMT recruitment efforts. For instance, Grafton had no EMTs graduate this semester.

“The recruitment of EMTs has been a nationwide problem due to there being less volunteerism and the time commitment that it takes,” Rice said.

These new EMTs come from a variety of backgrounds. Some of them are already with the Fire Department as firefighters seeking their certification as an EMT while others are new to the program. There was even one who was an EMT at a different town, but moved to Saukville and wanted to stay involved in that line of work.

Among these new EMTs is Preston Smith who joined the fire department when he was 14-years-old. Now 23, he wanted to explore the medical side of emergency response.

“I really like being able to get into the medical stuff a little more,” Smith said.

Originally Smith joined the fire department’s explore program, which was a good way of easing into the department while still being young.

“I was in the explore program for eight years,” Smith said. “It was learning about the fire department, getting to do some training with the actual firefighters and also getting to run some calls and help out when you can.”

Rice said they are putting efforts into making the experience as a Saukville EMT better to hopefully recruit new volunteers. They are accomplishing that by trying to build more camaraderie within the station and improved training.

Saukville’s Fire Department has teamed up with Grafton to provide an improved joint training effort. In this new collaboration, the two departments meet once a month for two hours to keep up on their skills.

“Now it’s a lot easier to do and now it can be done at one time instead of multiple different times at different locations,” Rice said.

This news comes as the Village Board approved a resolution to look into a consolidation with Grafton, Cedarburg and Port Washington on emergency reponse next year. The board also moved to submit a grant proposal to help with emergency medical response.

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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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