Silver Lake president’s statement regarding EMS services

In the wake of the decision last week by the Silver Lake Village Board to contract with Salem for emergency medical services, we published a reaction statement from Dan Gerber, president of Silver Lake Rescue Squad Inc. Silver Lake Rescue had provided those services to the village for over 50 years. Village President Jeff Albrecht asked to has us publish a rebuttal statement and we agreed. The following is the statement Albrecht sent:

I am pleased to announce that earlier this month your board voted 6-1 to change the contract for our ambulance service from a private corporation, The Silver Lake Rescue Squad, Inc. (SLRS), to Salem Township EMS Paramedic Service (subject to the final approval of The Salem Town Board). This decision was not made lightly, nor was it rushed into. The process took many, many months and many public meetings to come to this conclusion. Considering the long term health benefit of our citizens, I believe that it was the right decision to make. Silver Lake is a 1.5 square mile village with 2500 residents and our property taxes are squeezed to the max. We must find better, more efficient and innovative ways to run our village government and the services it provides, while still keeping taxes down. For the past two years, taxes have decreased and village services have remained strong. However, our Fire Department equipment is aging, and volunteer personnel, as it is everywhere these days, is shrinking. Your board determined that we must find additional funding to support fire, both now and for many years in the future without raising taxes. This decision will help fund our own Village Fire Department and their EMS services vs. funding a private corporation. The decision making process started with a citizens advisory Ad Hoc Committee to study the current situation and offer alternatives that might serve us better. The current SLRS Ambulance Service is rated at an IV Tech level, the third of five possible competencies, whereas Salem is at Paramedic level, the highest and most skilled level. The Paramedic level care can treat and respond to more severe medical conditions on scene than can an IV Tech unit. There was a desire to have Paramedic service for all of our citizens on every EMS call. SLRS was unwilling or unable to upgrade their services to full Paramedic response. Dr. Manish Acharya the Kenosha County Emergency Medical Director for United Hospitals, appearing before our board urged them to hire the best Emergency Medical Care that they can afford. The Doctor stated that many citizens, and I was once one of them, do not know that there are different levels of care in terms of emergency medical response. Once they do understand, they most always demand the best care available, and when they have the opportunity to step up in care, they do it. He went on to state the differences between Paramedic services such as Salem Rescue and IV Tech Level under which SLRS, Inc. now operates. According to Dr. Acharya, here are some of Paramedic advantages:  â€¢  In cases of a heart attack the Paramedic would be performing the same steps and procedures that would be done in hospital including pain medication. With the hospital already a great distance from our village, the earlier on scene treatment can be a huge factor in determining the final outcome. • Training for Paramedics is superior to that of an IV Tech, and as such are generally able to recognize and offer treatments to a larger variety of emergencies. • Should a Stroke occur, IV Techs cannot administer certain drugs on scene, such as those to treat blood clots, Paramedics can. According to Dr. Acharya, time and method are of the essence in treating strokes and that permanent brain function will start to be lost in as little as ten minutes without treatment. • Seizures can be treated with drugs on scene by a Paramedic, where an IV Tech cannot administer. Dr. Acharya challenged the board by asking this: “What level of care would I want if I were the patient?”In the end, the decision was made to do just that: to upgrade emergency medical care for all Silver Lake residents by contracting our services via Salem Township. Here are the facts: – Trained First Responders (at a full BLS level) from our Silver Lake Fire Department will respond to each medical emergency to quickly begin emergency evaluation and care. Some of these first responders are former or current SLRS members who are now serving our community on our Fire Department. – Highly trained and certified BLS (Basic Life Support) personnel who are already members of the Silver Lake Fire Department will be equipped to handle medical emergencies: Radios to communicate directly with Doctors at the hospital and Salem Paramedic units, airways, oxygen therapy, defibulators, backboards, and trauma supplies. – SLFD BLS first responders will answer the call 24/7, as will the Salem Paramedic unit. This is care that even the largest of cities would be pleased to have, and now Silver Lake residents will enjoy that same level of care. We don’t have to settle for second best, when we can have the best. – Salem Township will take over medical transport of our citizens when required at full Paramedic level and with the ability to treat on scene many more complex medical cases than are now. – Money formerly used to fund the private company will now be used to bolster our fire department so that we can adequately staff for emergencies and set aside money to replace aging equipment. – Silver Lake Fire and Salem Fire will train together for EMS and fire calls, helping to make our fire department stronger. – Taxes will not increase for Silver Lake or Salem residents: Salem will bill for fees associated with their services and Silver Lake will fund EMS first responders at no additional cost to our citizens. – In the future, and as part of our agreement, Silver Lake Fire will provide some Salem Township residents with Fire and First Responder services at no additional cost to them. –  Joint cooperation from Salem and Silver Lake governments benefits the citizens of both communities and offers the possibility for even greater cooperation in the future to help keep services high and taxes at the most affordable level possible. Once the Salem board has officially adopted our agreement, an orderly transition will occur, but throughout the process your SLFD first responders will be dispatched to your medical calls no matter who might be transporting. I heartily support this upgraded level of care for our citizens and the cooperation with the Township of Salem to better serve all of our citizens.

Related posts

 Silver Lake Rescue Squad Inc. president’s statement on Silver Lake’s decision to contract with Salem for EMS

Silver Lake approves EMS agreement with Salem


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