Ambulance: First Responders
When tragedy strikes or medical emergencies occur, the first response is to call 9-1-1.
"The importance of First Responders to our community's well-being is undeniable."
-- River Falls Journal, May 8, 2003.
Affiliated with River Falls Area Ambulance
River Falls First Responders exists to improve patient outcomes through delivery of quick and efficient high-quality pre-hospital emergency care to the sick or injured when dialing 9-1-1.
President: Jeff Rixmann, EMT-P
Vice President: Holly Mitchell, EMT-P
Secretary: Pete Brooks, EMT-P
Treasurer: Julie Hadzima, First Responder
Equipment: Mary Waters, EMT-B
What Is A First Responder?
First Responders are medically-trained volunteers that respond from their homes directly to the scene of an emergency to bridge the time gap before an ambulance arrives. Responders Receive 62 hours of certified training through the Chippewa Valley Technical College and are state of Wisconsin licensed through the State of WI. 50% of the members have continued their medical learning to be licensed as Emergency Medical Technicians. This would include another 159 hours or more to become licensed as EMT-basics, another 600 hours as EMT-Intermediates, or 1400 hours as licensed paramedics.
A critical difference is placement of life-saving equipment with responders in the rural setting. Each Responder carries medical supplies, an advanced airway kit, oxygen, stethoscope, blood pressure cuff, blankets, and limited medications, such as glucose for diabetics, as well as reassurance for patients that the ambulance is on its way. In addition, town governments have purchased seven Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs) that are strategically placed with Responders in the town areas. The American Heart Association States, "For every minute that passes without defibrillation following a heart attack, the likelihood of survival decreases 7% to 10%."
Through our affiliation with River Falls Area Ambulance, monthly training is provided in areas such as emergency scene management, medical protocols, patient assessment, use of medical equipment and devices, and continuous refreshment of skills.
Each Responder completes a bi-annual 30-hour refresher course.
The current Team Roster contains 20 Responders with 8 certified at the First Responder level, 13 EMT-B's and 7 Paramedics.
In August 2001, a call was dispatched in the rural setting for "a man thrown from a horse with difficulty breathing." An Ambulance EMT lived two miles from the horse stable. He responded directly to the scene and arrived within minutes of the dispatch. The ambulance crew arrived ten minutes later. Three days following the incident, the patient stopped by to meet the ambulance director to say thank you. He also stated that he could not believe how fast someone arrived. Hence, the First Responder program was conceived.
At about this same time, River Falls Ambulance had realized a 60% increase in 9-1-1 medical emergency calls during the first eight months of 2002 versus the previous year. The dramatic call increase was realized in the towns of Troy and Kinnickinnic, both located in St. Croix County. The US Census Bureau reported in 2003 that St. Croix County was the number one fastest growing county in Wisconsin for new homes from 1999 to 2002.
During 2002, the first year of operation for the organization, the number of 9-1-1 emergency calls escalated sharply over the previous year by 83%. Even more alarming, the number of auto crashes increased by 219%. The territory covered represents five towns, 13,000 covered lives, and 180 square miles. River Falls First Responders are also available on a "Mutual Aid" basis when requested by EMS services in surrounding areas.
The following members serve these towns:
Kinnickinnic/Pleasant Valley Responders:
Town of River Falls Responders:
Town of Clifton Responders:
|Kathy Meyers||Grant Jonsson||Mary Waters||Craig Nelson||Timothy Steinmetz, M.D.|
|Linda Carlson||Charles Struemke||Jeff Rixmann||Troy Lesmeister||Greg miller, M.D.|
|Adam LaPlount||Garrett Gill||Mike Fecht|
|Stacy LaPlount||Doug Dartsch||Julie Hadzima|
|John Kruk||Mary Redick|
River Falls First Responders has established a representative form of governance as a Federally-recognized 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in 2002. Funds directly benefit new responder training, purchase of medical equipment and supplies necessary to fulfill its responsibilities to help others. In the last 5 years, in excess of 140 businesses or organizations contributed financially or provided in-kind product support totaling over $90,000.
To inquire about funding or donation opportunities, direct inquiries to (715) 425-0370 or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Child/Infant Car Seat Program
Outside of responding to ambulance and fire calls, First Responders initiated a new community program to protect infants and children strapped in car seats with having realized auto crashes increased 219% from 2001 to 2002. Minnesota Safe Kids states four out of five car seats are installed incorrectly by parents and caregivers, but many believe they are using them correctly. Realizing this statistic, two responders became certified in February 2003 as car seat safety technicians. Car seat safety checks are offered free to the public the first Tuesday of every month from 9:30 to 11:00 AM at the River Falls Area Ambulance Service station, 175 E Cedar St, River Falls.
An appointment is required to accommodate the 30-minutes required for each car seat checked. To arrange for an appointment or check on schedule availability, call River Falls at (715) 425-0370. For general information, contact River Falls SAFE KIDS program coordinator Mary Waters at (715) 425-9427 or e-mail email@example.com.
Points of Car Seat Check include:
- Checking integrity and age of seat
- Verifying seat not on a national recall list
- Sizing child to seat
- Checking placement of seat for stability
- Checking for seat use of five-point harness
- Answering questions of parents and caregivers
How to Apply
In order to be eligible for consideration, candidates must be certified at a minimum as a State of Wisconsin First Responder. If the candidate holds no current certification, River Falls First Responders will sponsor the 56 hour first responder training course, or, if the candidate desires, the 140 hour EMT-B training course. These courses are offered through Chippewa Valley Technical College and Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College. Classes are in the River Falls area.
If the candidate is currently certified as a state of Wisconsin or nationally registered First Responder or EMT, the candidate is not required to attend the training course. Candidates licensed as LPN's or RN's are requested to attend the First Responder training course.
Requirements for membership include attending monthly business meetings and trainings as well as responding to calls when available. Active participation in training is vitally important to maintain skill sets, be informed in changes in policies and protocols and to maintain a good working relationship with ambulance personnel.
Additional requirements for membership include infectious control instruction, a mantoux test for prior TB exposure, a one-time hepatitis B vaccine series (paid at the candidates expense through their personal medical insurance) and orientation programs with River Falls Ambulance and fire departments.
To be in compliance with the State of Wisconsin Health Care Provider rules, all candidates must complete a criminal background check form and submit a nonrefundable check for $9.50 prior to being placed into service as a River Falls First Responder.
Click on the link below for a Application and job description, or, contact us via telephone (715) 425-0370 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information or inquiries should be directed to:
River Falls Area Ambulance River Falls First Responders, INC.
175 E Cedar St
River Falls, WI 54022
Fax: (715) 425-6609