The Grafton Fire Department has officially upgraded its emergency medical care options to include paramedics.
The change, which went into effect April 1, was made after the department received a paramedic service license from the Wisconsin Emergency Medical Service office.
Fire Chief William Rice said the upgrade, which came after nearly one year of meetings and training sessions, will allow the department to provide a higher level of pre-hospital care more quickly to residents in both the Village and Town of Grafton.
â€śItâ€™s exciting. This is a critical service that will greatly enhance the quality of emergency care we can provide,â€ť Rice said.
For several years, paramedic services to Grafton residents have been provided through intercept agreements with the Port Washington and Thiensville fire departments. With the local upgrade, paramedics will join a team of emergency medical technicians with basic and intermediate certifications.
Paramedics can perform a greater number of skills, such as advanced airway and cardiac management, that are crucial in improving survival rates among residents suffering a heart attack or cardiac or respiratory arrest. Such skills are otherwise only available in a hospital setting.
Rice said state law gives all fire departments issued paramedic service licenses one year to recruit and train enough paramedics to have at least one available 24 hours per day, 365 days per year.
Grafton currently has eight licensed paramedics. If the department receives a call when a local paramedic is not available, it will continue to request a paramedic intercept from either Port Washington or Thiensville.
Anyone interested in joining the Grafton department as a paramedic, EMT or firefighter is asked to call 375-5314 or visit www.graftonfire.com.
Image information: ON HAND FOR THE Grafton Fire Dpeartmentâ€™s first paramedic training session last week were (front row, from left) Chief William Rice, Kaye Redeker, Karen Novinska Kottke, Sean Kilpatrick, Jenn Cuske-Dunn, (back row) Nicholas Peter, Dan Kendall and Matt Schaenzer.
Photo by Sam Arendt