- The Merrill Fire Department sees the need for more, younger EMTs to get into the business. Like other area departments, it wants to ensure its staff will stay strong for years into the future.
People like Dylan Schielke can help make that happen.
Schielke is a Northcentral Technical College EMT student. For a few months, he's been riding along on emergency calls with Merrill Fire.
"Sometimes, the communication can be hard," Schielke said. "You have to come up to the patient, figure out what to say, what questions to ask. They say all of that stuff in the book, but when you actually come up to a patient and try to ask it, it can be difficult sometimes."
Schielke spends several hours a week training with the Merrill Fire Department and learning in the field. He can perform EMT duties while supervised by a current EMT.
"The trickiest part is when you're learning stuff from the book and then kind of applying it to real life," Schielke said. "Sometimes, making them connect is the hardest part."
The Merrill Fire Department loves having him around.
"He's a great student. He's learning well. He's engaging my firefighter paramedics, and he's always asking questions," said Merrill Fire Chief Dave Savone. "He's like a sponge. He's just sucking in all of that knowledge that we're giving him up here in Merrill."
Merrill often has five or six EMTs-in-training cycling through its department.
"We want to mentor and bring along some people," Savone said. "Hopefully, we will inspire someone to become a firefighter paramedic and join or ranks, whether it's our ranks or some other village's or city's ranks."