SSM Health Awards Grant To Waupun Fire Dept.

The Waupun Fire Department began offering Emergency Medical Responder (EMR) services in the City of Waupun this past February. EMRs are part of the overall Emergency Medical Services (EMS) system and are dispatched to provide initial patient care until the ambulance arrives or assist paramedics at the scene.

“When starting a new program, start-up costs can be a hurdle,” according to Fire Chief B.J. DeMaa. “In our situation however, thanks to a $4,000 grant from SSM Health Greater Fond du Lac Region, a significant portion of the equipment that our EMRs carry was covered.”  

Some of the equipment that this grant helped provide included: medical bags, airway management equipment, blood pressure cuff, stethoscopes, dressings/bandaging, rescue blankets, hot/cold packs, tourniquets, glucometers, splinting equipment, and pulse oximeters. “Without partners such as SSM Health Greater Fond du Lac, it would be difficult to get a program like ours started,” DeMaa says.

“I am fortunate to have the opportunity to serve the community,” says Syed Mohiuddin, MD, SSM Health Waupun Memorial Hospital’s emergency medicine medical director, who provides medical oversight. “Seconds matter in life threatening conditions and to train and keep the first responders is critical to manage before ambulance arrives.”

The City of Waupun is the hub of the Waupun Ambulance District within Fond du Lac County. The service territory of that District not only covers the City of Waupun but also includes the Townships of Alto, Metomen, Oakfield, Springvale, and Waupun, and the Villages of Brandon and Oakfield. The Dodge County Township of Chester and northeast portion of the Township of Trenton also fall within this District. In the last year, the District has experienced an 18% increase in 9-1-1 ambulance calls. These trends were occurring even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Within any ambulance system, opportunities are going to exist where call volume exceeds your ambulance capacity,” DeMaa explains. “Every EMS agency has different processes in place to fill these coverage gaps and what we’ve experienced is that they are filled by requesting an ambulance from another community. This can lead to a delay in medical care from trained personnel by as much as 20-30 minutes. We owe it to our citizens to ensure no gaps exist when they call 9-1-1 and, in just 3 months, our EMR program has already covered multiple incidents where our citizens would have waited for care.”

Diane Posthuma, Outpatient Services director with SSM Health Waupun Memorial Hospital, acknowledges the EMR services are truly a wonderful additional health care service for the Waupun area community.

“Chief DeMaa has done a great job over the past couple of years in assessing the needs of our community and then taking action with a plan that will very much aid our emergency services in treating patients before they come to the ER,” Posthuma says. “In an emergency, time is of essence, and even getting a set of vitals, taking a blood sugar, or determining a pulse ox can really be instrumental in helping the ambulance personnel to immediately take action on arrival.”