Sherman goes with Random Lake for EMS

by Rodney Schroeter
of The Review staff

SHERMAN — The Town Board has decided to contract with the Random Lake Fire Department ambulance to provide coverage for the west side of Sherman.

The board’s March 6 meeting was attended by about 30 people. One of two thoroughly-discussed issues that night was, as Town Chairman William Goehring put it, “Who will be providing the EMS services for the western part of the town of Sherman?”

This question had been asked in recent months because the town of Scott dissolved the Batavia First Responders, who had covered (among its other territories) the west side of Sherman.

Those present saw two possible service provider options: the town of Scott, which has formed its own EMS team; and the Random Lake Fire Department (RLFD) ambulance. Representatives from both were present, including town of Scott Chairman Randy Narbatovics; John Gloede, service director of the Scott Emergency Medical Responders; and RLFD EMS Director Blaine Werner.

Gloede said Scott first responders intended to cover the same areas that Batavia first responders had covered.

Werner said RLFD had recently added to its EMS staff by hiring a full-time EMT/paramedic who will be available to respond to emergency calls that are not covered under first responder areas.

Werner said Dennis Schulz and Dean Dolence, formerly of the Batavia First Responders, have undergone EMT training and have applied to work with the RLFD.

Goehring asked for feedback from residents.

Donna Borgwardt said she believed Scott first responders could not provide the same level of service that the Batavia first responders had provided, nor could they provide the service the RLFD offered.

Borgwardt said, “[Scott] cannot guarantee 24/7 coverage, like Batavia first responders did. The town of Scott first responders have publicly stated that they have, and I quote, ‘Most nights covered.’ They do not have daytime coverage. They also do not have a schedule. Therefore, they are not bound by what is called ‘duty to act,’ which means they do not have to show up for any calls, period.”

She said the three former Batavia first responders most often responding to past calls were not part of the newlyformed Scott first responders. She said contracting with Scott’s first responders would not be in the best interests of Sherman.

Gloede replied that anticipated additional personnel would provide more coverage in the Batavia area in the near future. “So, the amount of service that is there, is not going to change,” he said.

Gloede said he’d studied Batavia’s past response times, which averaged three to six minutes. “Whereas the current service call en route is 30 seconds to one minute,” he said.

“We do have a schedule,” he said. “Our response rates are 100 per cent. We do have daytime staff. We have night coverage every night. The choice of three [former Batavia] members that did not join the town of Scott, that was their choice. The door was open. They chose not to.”

Gloede was interrupted by Becky Kuehmichel, who said, “You’re a liar.”

Gloede continued, “Random Lake has a primary ambulance. Most of the time, they’re out the door. And when a second call comes in, it’s usually Orange Cross [ambulance] that’s coming, because [RLFD’s] second unit, most of the time, cannot be staffed. So that would be the other issue.”

Werner replied, “I’ve never known a call that Random Lake ambulance two hasn’t responded to. Don’t make a comment that our second ambulance can’t make it. I challenge that comment. We work with Orange Cross. To say that Orange Cross is coming out because we do not have an ambulance is incorrect.”

Gloede replied that RLFD did not respond to a December, 2017 call.

Werner let out a long breath and explained that the call was for a patient with back pain, who was to be transported to Froedtert. Werner said he and the medical director made the choice not to send the RLFD ambulance. “We should not take our ambulance out of Random Lake, for a call we know we can’t transport. Orange Cross came down because it’s a non-emergency call.”

Kuehmichel questioned how the new Scott service could claim to have response times of 30 seconds to a minute, based on only five calls in its brief history, and then compare that average response time to Batavia’s 31 years of service.

Goehring returned to the question of which service Kuehmichel as a Sherman resident preferred the town to go with. She said RLFD.

Resident James Schulz started to explain his reasons for his preference, but Goehring asked him to state only which service he preferred. Schulz replied, “But if you don’t know what the facts are, you can’t make a decision.” Goehring pressed for an answer only, and Schulz said RLFD ambulance.

The board unanimously voted to go with RLFD ambulance, contingent upon approval by the county’s EMS Council.

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