Loading
Search
NEWS STORIES

Rural EMS departments face unique challengesSubmitted: 10/29/2018
Rose McBride
Rose McBride
Reporter/Anchor
rmcbride@wjfw.com

Rural EMS departments face unique challenges
NORTHWOODS - When a call comes in, Carole Selin has to leave work and respond quickly. 

"I'm a bus driver, I'm a secretary for a bus company and a construction company," said Selin, the Phelps Area EMS Director. 

She works many day jobs, but is also "on-call" nearly every hour of the day as an EMT for the Phelps EMS department.


"It's a non-stop process for us that do have jobs plus have this volunteer job," said Selin. 

Phelps only has eight EMTs. That can be a challenge when it comes to scheduling people to be on-call, which also means they have to stay in the town and respond at a moment's notice. 

"That means no fishing, no hunting, no fun," said Selin.

That same problem exists for the Land O' Lakes EMS Department. That squad has few members too, most of whom have been working there quite a few years.

Signe Baake has been an EMT since 1975. She says part of the reason the department has such low numbers is because getting younger people to join has become difficult. 

"It's become a daunting task with the amount of education that is required for each EMT," said Baake. 

But the Wisconsin Office of Rural Health wants to help. The office is holding Rural EMS listening sessions across the state, including in Woodruff, to learn about the difficulties these departments face daily. 

"If we can come together and come up with some shared ideas and solutions, I'm optimistic that legislators want to hear that and try and help," said John Eich, the Director of the WI Office of Rural Health. 

The Office of Rural Health wants to try to ensure that even in rural areas, patients can receive quality care. That's the goal for Phelps and Land O' Lakes EMS as well, which is why Selin and Baake spend the time they do on-call.

"When I am off from my main job I wear a pager 24/7," said Baake. 

They know the reward of saving lives is worth the sacrifice of time spent on the job.

"It takes special people to volunteer a lot of their time," said Baake. 


Text Size: + Increase | Decrease -
| Print Story | Email Story
Sponsored in part by HodagSports.com





 IN OTHER NEWS

Play Video

RHINELANDER - Rhinelander Firefighters wanted to teach kids in Rhinelander about fire prevention and did just that. More than 800 children got that education last month.

Fire prevention week was October. But Rhinelander Fire Chief Terry Williams wanted his department to make it a month long project.

"We focus hard on getting into the schools and working with the school aged children," said Williams. "Anywhere from daycare up to fifth grade is really our target audience."

Younger children enjoyed games such as "hot or not" and "friendly firefighter."

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - Downtown Rhinelander will be a little brighter this holiday season.

The Rhinelander Community Foundation (RCF) donated a $13,000 grant to make this happen.

The grant will be used for new downtown street lights. Downtown lighting is an ongoing project for Downtown Rhinelander Inc.

Pat LaPorte of The Design Committee says they are hoping to add more than just lights.

"It's expensive and it's a community thing," said LaPorte. "We are certainty grateful for the people that have contributed. We still have a ways to go, but it's getting there."

+ Read More

RHINELANDER - Cold weather and some early-November snow means it's almost time for ski season to start. 

The Camp 10 Ski Area in Rhinelander is preparing to make snow so it can open for skiers and snowboarders.

+ Read More

Play Video

NORTHWOODS - Nearly half of the entire state of Wisconsin voted this month. November's midterm election brought out more voters than usual. But after all those ballots are cast, there are a few rules about what happens to them. Carrying those rules out takes a lot of teamwork. 

After all the ballots are cast on Election Day, they end up at a county clerk's office. Vilas County Clerk Dave Alleman says ballots most must be kept for 22 months but that presidential elections are kept a little longer.

"If for any reason, let's say for a recount. We'd have to open the bags, we'd have to have authority to do that, and then of course they'd have to be resealed and signed off again," said Alleman.

But moving ballots all isn't always easy.

"They can get heavy at times," said Alleman.

"It takes a lot of people to get these from one place to another," said Rhinelander City Clerk Val Foley. 
 
Before the ballots get to county clerks, it's up to the town and city clerks to get them there. Foley says on election night officials from each polling place will bring their ballots in large boxes.

"They get locked on each side with a padlock so that they're secure," said Foley.

City Hall employees then organize the ballots into dozens of bags, before taking them to the county clerk by 4 p.m. the day after the election.

"You have to do it by truck," said Foley. "We get the buildings and grounds gentlemen to help with that." 

Once the 22-month period is up, the ballots are destroyed. Alleman and his coworkers destroy them with an industrial shredder.

"Chops them up into tiny, tiny little bits," said Alleman.

He says that process can take a couple days. Until then, the ballots will stay safe and sound at the county clerk's office.

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - A handful of women in Rhinelander want to make sure everyone stays warm this chilly season.

The women want to be identified as "Secret Santas."

About 20 scarfs that appear to be handmade are stapled to street posts all along Lincoln Street.

The scarfs come in variety of colors with a note that state, "If you are cold…need one, take one".

+ Read More

MADISON - Gov. Scott Walker says he hasn't spoken with the media since his election defeat out of "decency."

Walker posted on Facebook Wednesday that "the decent thing to do is to let Governor-elect Tony Evers have his time to talk about his transition."

Walker has posted messages on Twitter since his loss, but his office has not responded to numerous questions over the past week, including issues facing the Legislature in an upcoming lame duck session.

+ Read More

MINNEAPOLIS - An environmental group has sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to preserve federal protections for gray wolves and force the agency to develop a national recovery plan for the species.

The Center for Biological Diversity filed the lawsuit in federal court in Washington, D.C., Wednesday, a day after the service denied the group's petition for a nationwide recovery plan. The service said its regional approach meets the legal requirements.

+ Read More
+ More General News
Search: 





Click Here