Silver Lake tables action on FD upgrading medical calls

silver-lake-VHA proposal to authorize Silver Lake Fire Department members to upgrade medical calls was tabled by the Village Board Wednesday.

Trustee Barbara Ironside made the motion in what she said was an effort to settle differences between the village fire department and the village’s contractor for emergency medical services, Silver Lake Rescue Squad, Inc.

But that seemed to be far from the case as Village Board members and audience members engaged in a lengthy and spirited debate about who should decide when a paramedic is called in for a medical call in Silver Lake.

Trustee Michael Decker said he was concerned about the legality and liability of SLFD members — trained at the first responder level — making that determination instead of the emergency medical technicians of Silver Lake Rescue.

“I’d like some legal clarification on that,” Decker said. Village attorney Linda Gray said she could not answer that question Wednesday night.

After some back and forth from supporters of both the fire department and the rescue squad, Decker spoke again relating some of his experience on the fire department. He said that in his early days, about five years ago, with no medical training he would just stand by the ambulance and ask rescue could he help in any way. The arguing Wednesday night suggested to him that that cooperative spirit has changed.

“This is an illustration of how far this village has gone, from people just wanting to help to bickering over who makes a call,” Decker said.

With no consensus developing and some points needing clarification, Ironside moved to table her motion.

“I was hoping this motion would help them work together …” Ironside said.





  1. Bernard Punsley says:

    Decker is concerned about liability and legality, as well he should be. IF he REALLY believes that, he should explain to the citizens that the village board has virtually NO CONTROL over ANYTHING that Silver Lake Rescue Squad members do. They are NOT village employees, they are contracted employees of the SLRS. Medical Control should be under the auspices of the FIRE CHIEF, who is a village employee. The key here is the motion sought to authorize VILLAGE EMPLOYEES to UPGRADE medical care for the citizens. Who would argue with that? If you were at the meeting, you know who. So the Silver Lake Rescue Squad is sitting at the Sentry grocery store in Paddock Lake, a medical call comes in and Silver Lake Fire responds along with the ambulance. Fire gets on scene first, determines
    paramedic level care is needed(one of the “2” calls a year), but they cannot make the call to upgrade care. Not only is that preposterous, I believe the village would be liable for failure to provide “duty of care”. Picture your house on fire, SLFD engine pulls up….they pull their fire hose to the front door and stand around and wait, without attempting to put out the fire. You are screaming at them…”my child is trapped inside”…and fire responds..”Sorry sir, we have to wait until the Fire Chief gets on scene to make a determination as to the level of fire care that we can provide”. Get the picture? SLFD members are virtually “handcuffed” on medical calls. And that’s just the way the “We Don’t Need Paramedics In Silver Lake” crowd wants it. Decker is right on the money when he points out “that’s an illustration of just how far this village has gone”(backwards!) Stay tuned. The lunacy continues!

  2. Bernard Punsley says:

    I find it ironic that those folks constantly bashing SLFD and demanding accountability of both the department and it’s Firefighters Association, dont’ share that same concern about SL Rescue Squad and it’s BIG PILE OF CASH that it is sitting on. Oh, that’s right, they are a “private, non-profit” entity, and are not required to report any of their finances to the Village Board. Fire department members spent $14,000 to buy protective gear, money THEY RAISED, and the get chastised for it? Do the “naysayers’ really want them to wear the old, wornout gear? I’m thinking, yes they do! These village meetings are really some of the best entertainment around. I’m gonna miss the fun when Salem takes over fire/rescue,and I ‘ve to to travel to their board meetings!

  3. Bernard Punsley says:

    And let’s not forget that Silver Lake residents have the “privilege” of paying an annual $27,000 “fee” that SLRS can dump onto their big pile of cash. Firefighter’s Association would have to flip a lot of hamburgers to generate that kind of money!And for that “privilege”, Silver Lake taxpayers continue to be told “we dont’ need paramedics in Silver Lake”…..( and FIRE isn’t gonna tell US to upgrade a call to paramedic level). Still haven’t seen/heard SLRS’s rationale for having their ambulance sitting in Paddock Lake TWICE last week, once at the grocery store, once at the bank. I drove by an Antioch fire station this week, saw an ambulance sitting next to a fire truck inside the station bay doors. Now what a novel concept that is!!!

  4. confused says:

    I am a tax payer in Silver Lake. Correct me if I am wrong. As a tax payer, we have Paramedic services available to us if need be? We also have a full time fire department neighboring all around us and able to respond, if need be? We have the Kenosha County Sheriff Department available to us that we pay taxes for along with our own police department, if need be? Our Village is looking to where we can save money as we are going BROKE! This to me is a no brainer. Dissolve all three of these departments which cost us a lot of tax payer money, contract with Town of Salem Fire and Rescue to provide fire and rescue service. This would save us money as we will not have to upkeep all the fire trucks, insurance, fire gear, pagers, trainings and calls. We contract with the Sheriff Dept. as Paddock Lake and Bristol has done to dedicate a squad to our area. You all need to understand that we cannot afford to continue supplying these services. This money saved will allow you to improve our Village to where we can get businesses to come in. More tourists to want to visit. Has anyone looked at our downtown lately? There is nothing there! Why would anyone want to come here on vacation? Wake up and quit spending our money arguing at meetings that are getting us nowhere.

  5. Bernard Punsley says:

    At last night’s board meeting, it was pretty apparent to me that the citizens were not about to present to “Keys to the Village” to Mr. Galich. I noticed the red carpet wasnt’ rolled out for him either. I suggest that he wear a paper bag over his head at future meetings to minimize the scorn thrown at him. I’ve been “chastised” in this column more than once for my “negativity”. After what I witnessed tossed at Mr. Galich last night, I think I’m in the “minor leagues”. WOW! Mr.Bryner is the “self professed expert” on all matters involving the SLRS, because he previously served with them(admirably, I might add). Then he lambasts Mr. Galich for having an “expired paramedic license”,,,hence questioning any medical expertise he might have in the field. Really Al? You can’t have it both ways. Serving over 30 years on the 4th largest fire department in the state of Wisconsin, on some of the busiest paramedic units in the state, all that knowledge and background disappeared the day MR. Galich retired? And now he wants to put it to use serving the citizens of Silver Lake, and the “Save our Rescue Squad/We Don’t Need Paramedics” zealots paint a big red target on his back? Sorry Al, “ready …lift” and “face red, raise the head, face pale, raise the tale” were fine back in your day. I chuckle at SLRS continuing lamentations that “we dont’ get enough experience with Advanced Life Support calls to warrant paramedics…the state won’t let us”….and we are fortunate to have an upstanding citizen right in our back yard whose expertise we not only SHUN, but FEAR as well. The next time SLRS stops at Paddock Lake Sentry, maybe they could pick some paper bags up for Mr. Galich.

  6. george washington says:

    Jeff why don’t you have the stones to use your real name? Benard punsley? Really?

  7. Rhonda says:

    Oh shut up already Bernard…or should I say Jeff. You aren’t the President anymore. Find something else to do.

  8. Maria says:

    After attending several funerals where in lieu of flowers, “donations to the S.L. rescue squad dept. are encouraged.” So I guess I was donating to a private entity that provides their own equipment. They don’t need “donations”? From now on, my $$ will go to the Fire Department.

  9. Matt says:

    EVERYBODY, from the village president down needs to be unseated! Silver Lake is already a local joke….it shouldn’t be long and they will be a national joke!

  10. Bernard Punsley says:

    To All the “Bernard Bashers” out there….while you may disagree with what I say, I have yet to see anyone repudiate anything that I have written. I think I have a pretty good grasp on the pulse of this village. Right now, it appears to be in “ventricular fibrilation”, headed for “flat line” very shortly. But WHATEVER you do…..DON”T CALL FOR A PARAMEDIC UNIT!!! When the “Save Our Rescue Squad /We Don’t Need Paramdics” zealots finally succeed in dismantling the Silver Lake Fire Department, Salem will take over both fire AND rescue in the village, transferring the village employee SLFD members over to the Salem Fire & Rescue Dept. SLRS….sorry, you sealed your own fate. Then all of this nonsense will finally be over. I remain, “BERNARD PUNSLEY”.

  11. Karen says:

    What kills me about all the hub-bub about the SLRS and trying to put the important decisions about patient care in the hands of our Fire Dept. First Responders is the line used over and over, “You can’t put a price on human life.” I heard it from a board member last Wednesday. But I’ve heard it from Jeff Albrecht’s friends and the Fire Dept for over a year.

    They make it sound like we don’t already have paramedic care in Silver Lake. If you were at the Village Board meeting when the presentations were made, you would have heard that we certainly and absolutely do have paramedic level care anytime we need it! Salem can meet us enroute (or Fox Lake or Medix if we going to McHenry or Burlington) in less time than it would take for Salem’s paramedics to drive all the way to Silver Lake and then attend the patient. The whole key phrase here is “WHEN WE NEED IT!”

    The “You-can’t-put-a-price” people want you to believe an EMT-I cannot triage, cannot recognize the severity of illness or injury. That’s just not true. Rescue personnel train on patient assessment over and over and over.

    There are also rumors that SLRS won’t call Salem, even when it is necessary. They have NO evidence. In fact the medical control doctor from Burlington told us at a recent Village Board meeting that at NO TIME did SLRS jeopardize patient outcome. He spent an entire evening attending our meeting just to put these rumors to rest.

    And YES, you can put a price on this hysterical foolishness! Curtis/Medix=$300,000 a year + charging the patient. Salem Rescue = $100,000 +. Where on earth could the village find that extra money?

    Just remember when you need a paramedic, there will be one for you!

  12. only makes sense. says:

    For anyone wondering its not jeff lol
    Jeff will always have the gonads to post himself.
    If anyone followed facebook Bernard Punsley Is…….
    Linda valentine aka making salem better. Shes makes rants and rants and rants just like this and to top it off she did quote the actor benard punsley a couple times
    Before this charecter came about. Worry about your own damn town.

  13. Alan Bryner says:

    Dear Jeffy,

    Answering your of August 22 @ 10:40 A.M.

    I usually do not look at ” West of the I ” website and for me to answer your posting shows my disgust with your drivel. This site is the equivalent to the party line in rural Algoma.

    A friend of mine stated that I was mentioned in one of your many postings and I had to reply to your fabrications.

    First, I did not mention that anyone had an expired paramedic license. You did all this all by yourself in the posting!

    Second, I am not a self-professed expert on the Silver Lake Rescue Squad. You have apparently taken that position and that as an expert on Silver Lake Fire. I was only sharing a brief history of paramedic service that was once provided to the Village of Silver Lake. Sadly, this is a true story. The hospital, at that time, simply walked away from the population west of Highway 45. They made a business decision and damn the public. They promised to remodel the clinic to the tune of $ 50,000.00 and they would hold paramedic training sessions at this location. It would have been great.

    Third, my service with Silver Lake Rescue. Thanks for the compliment for my admirable service. I would not class it as admirable, adequate yes, but not admirable. I and many others have seen the need for emergency fire and rescue service in this community and have stepped up to the plate to save lives and property of our neighbors during their time of need. You and others should try it sometime. I retired the night of the open house because I had accomplished my goal of a new building. My time with Silver Lake Rescue ( 20 years ) and my time with Silver Lake Fire ( 3 or 4 years ) was a learning experience.

    Mr. Galich and I chose community involvement on two different paths. He chose municipal involvement in Kenosha and I chose community involvement in Silver Lake. He made hundreds if not thousands more calls than I did, but you, if you live to the ripe old age of 100 will never make as many calls as ourselves.

    Fourth, in looking at some of your postings you allude to the ” pile of money ” that Silver Lake Rescue has accumulated. I do not know what their treasury balance is and I do not know what their collection ratio is now. But every penny they collect from a third-party is one less that had to be raised locally. Please reference the current bankruptcy of Rural/Metro Fire & Rescue. Their current ration is $ .38 per billed dollar. They are the largest private Fire/Rescue company in the country and look at that mess.

    Lastly, please refer to Item # 1. I will wager that I did not mention and expired paramedic license.

    Hubert Humphrey, Senator from Minnesota, Vice President and Presidential candidate was noted for his long-winded speeches. Why use 20 words when 40 will do. He was described as having diarrhea of the mouth. Your affliction is having diarrhea of the keyboard.

    P.S. If you are the real Bernard Punsl(e)y it might be somewhat difficult to vote in the next election as you are dead. ( January 20, 2004) That is unless you have had a name change or have a birth certificate from Hawaii.

    # 30

  14. Bernard Punsley says:

    Al & Karen…while I applaud your involvement with the community, especially with SLRS, you’ll never convince me for a second you haven’t done everything you can to undermine SLFD. If an EMT-I can “triage” a patient to decide on upgrading care, WHY does that person have to be a SLRS member? Why can’t it be a SLFD member? Because SLRS members DO NOT want to give up that authority! And please explain to me how “we have paramedics available” when the SLRS is sitting at BMO bank in Paddock Lake. Must all be done with mirrors.
    Al, just about every meeting I have attended that you were at, you stood up and shouted out your concerns, most of the times without being recognized by the chair. And for you to try and assert that you did not challenge MR.Galich’s skills as a paramedic is hilarious. The next time you are sitting at the back of the room whining with Dean, ask him if SLRS has over $400,000 in their coffers. All money they justifiably earned. Does anyone really believe the could run their operation for $27,000 annually. I’m guessing that gas and utilities on the building alone might eat that up. My point? They make their money off of ambulance call fees. They don’t want to give that up. The village board has authority over all of the various departments in Silver Lake, EXCEPT SLRS. They are NOT village employees. I’ll go back to Mr. Galich arrriving on a medical call with SLFD, while SLRS is responding back from the hospital where they have transported a patient, so their response will be delayed several minutes. SLFD members on scene cannot make a medical decision to upgrade a call, and have to wait until SLRS arrives on scene? Ludicrous! Folks seem to forget that this whole “problem” surfaced when the Ad Hoc committee(remember those clowns?)
    tried to address issues regarding fire and rescue services in the village. SLRS started the war, SLFD never wanted a fight. Salem Fire & Rescue will come in and pick up the pieces. And Al, your reference to President Obama was “priceless”. One favor please, at the next meeting you attend, could you please wait to be recognized from the chairperson before you stand up and start spewing out your “drivel”. Myself and many others in the audience would appreciate that courtesy. Thanks, Al.

  15. Bernard Punsley says:

    Al… seem to have “selective memory”. After you stood up and assaulted Mr. Galich’s character and credentials, you don’t recall a fellow firefighter standing up and pointing out that just because Mr. Galich may no longer be a paramedic, he certainly didn’t forget all those skills the day he retired! don’t remember that. But myself and everyone in the crowd heard it. In addition to his years of service with a “municipal” department(your words,not mine), you conveniently left out Mr. Galich’s YEARS of service to the SLFD, including his current service. Mr. Galich has become a “lightning rod” for SLRS members to hone in on. Pound on him all you want, Mudslinging Sue can pound her gavel all she wants(might want to try it next time Al gets up out of order!), Mr. Galich continues to be a beacon of common sense in this community, something which seems to be severely lacking! Unlike the majority of SLRS members, he LIVES in the community he serves as well. To quote the late Rodney King “people…can’t we all just get along”? Nope, aint’ gonna happen.

  16. Karen says:

    BP, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! Maybe what you saw (or think you saw) was just the Rescue Squad doing their regular business related banking, during business hours, and they took an ambulancem so that they could respond if a call came in.

    Quit trying to make a federal offense out of the way they do business. They are a non-profit corporation. They are no enjoyed the profits of the donations and fees that are charged. Yes, they need operating expenses. And they have to provide for the eventual replacement of equipment.

    And that is something YOU did not plan for when you were president of the village. And that is why we have any problem at all.

  17. Bernard Punsley says:

    Karen..I KNOW what I saw….the SLRS ambulance sitting in the BMO bank parking lot in Paddock. Lake. I don’t know what they were doing. My point is that they were NOT in the village of Silver Lake to respond, and if SLFD responded with them on an EMS call, they would have to wait for SLRS to show up to make a medical upgrade. Dispute that all you want. If the SLFD took one of their fire engines all the way into Paddock Lake for “business”, that action would be subject to the scrutiny of the village board. Look at the scrutiny SLFD is going under for hitting a door panel on the fire station with a rig. Again, the village board has the AUTHORITY to scrutinize what happened. They have NO AUTHORITY over SLRS. They are NOT village employees, most of them don’t even live in the village. Does SLRS have $400 grand in their kitty or not? Have you asked anyone on SLRS if they took the ambulance to Paddock Lake…your inference to “what you think you saw” is something you are pretty adept at, deflecting the issue away from what is really happening. The squad was sitting in the parking lot. I saw it. Explain to all of us (who you think have no working knowledge of how an EMS system should work)how the “we have paramedic level service in Silver Lake when needed” functions when the ambulance is 3miles
    out of town and that EMS call comes in. Maybe drive 90 miles an hour to make up the difference? SLRS doesn’t function without SLFD. You know it and can sugar coat it all you want. If I’m wrong, why don’t you have your medical director cancel any response from SLFD on EMS calls. They are under no state mandate to respond. You don’t think it’s broken? I hope you assess a patient’s leg injury better than you do the current state of Fire & Rescue services in the village of Silver Lake. One day in the near future, when you look across the railroad tracks from your EMS TajMahal and see a Salem Fire & Rescue ambulance parked in the Silver Lake Fire Station, you might be inclined to think “ya know, that Bernard was ‘ahead of his time Willie”. I shall continue to keep my finger on the pulse of the village, to the chagrin of many.

  18. Bernard Punsley says:

    Let me see if I have this straight…Mike Decker is a Lieutenant on the SLFD, but does not have enough “medical training or experience’ to determine whether or not to upgrade a medical call if he arrives with his crew before SLRS does. WOW! That is just plain SCARY. Mike, either “get some training” or give up your officer position and ride the “back seat’. IF you miss as many emergency calls as you do board meetings, well, then that minimizes the problem. FIRST RESPONDER???

  19. unbelievable says:

    Excuse me Mr. Punsley….you are very hypocritical….are you not one of the people supporting using Antioch Rescue to respond to Silver Lake calls??? Your statement of SLRS sitting 3 miles out of the village and responding 90 MPH to get to the call is a little ludicrous when Antioch is just a wee bit further than 3 miles out of the village of Silver Lake. You sir, are an idiot!!!

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