Appleton Fire Dept. now providing EMT service to community

Published: Jan. 27, 2021 at 4:30 PM CST
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APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) - At the start of this year, the Appleton Fire Department could offer more life-saving services to its community.

The path to obtain EMT-level status started a couple years ago, as the Appleton Fire Department noticed its EMS (Emergency Medical Service) runs going up.

Between 2017 and 2020, the Appleton Fire Department saw its EMS calls go up 28 percent. In 2020, 73 percent of the department’s calls were EMS.

“That’s a pretty big number,” said Chief Jeremy Hansen. “We’ve seen a constant increase in medical calls which tells us that the community needs more medical response.”

To fill that need Hansen says they invested in upping the department’s EMS ability, and this year began providing EMT-level services for the first time.

“By moving our EMS skills up higher, we can provide a higher level of intervention quicker,” said Hansen. “This is something that the fire department as a whole identified as a need in the community, and that’s why we pushed it forward.”

Before the department had Emergency Medical Responder (EMR) status, but now at an EMT level they can do more in-depth patient assessment and can provide more initial care for difficulty breathing, chest pain, and diabetic emergencies.

“Those are those calls where we’re having cardiac events, where rapid intervention is important,” said Hansen, who noted their six stations are strategically placed around Appleton to make response times as quick as possible.

Hansen says about half the department was at EMT level already, but they had to train more personnel to meet state requirements, which is having two EMTs on every vehicle 24/7.

“Our goal is to track how many times we do those advanced skills, the ones we couldn’t do just a month ago, and see if we have positive outcomes for our patients,” said Hansen.

It’s only been a short time, but Hansen believes it’s helping.

“It’s been going very well. We have the ability to provide a better and higher level of service to our community, and ultimately that’s our goal as a fire department, is to enhance the quality of life for Appletonians,” said Hansen.

In the long-term he hopes to get the station up to paramedic-level.

“If we identify another need that the community needs us to step up for we’re going to identify it and move in that direction,” said Hansen.

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