Silver Lake Rescue Squad will determine paramedic calls, says village president

sl-rescue-squad-backSilver Lake Rescue Squad members will be making the calls on when a paramedic intercept is needed on medical calls in Silver Lake, village President Sue Geber said Wednesday.

Backing up Gerber’s assertion is a new letter she has in her possession from three top state emergency medical services officials. She read from the letter at a Committee of the Whole meeting Wednesday.

Both Silver Lake Fire Department members as first responders and members of the Silver Lake Rescue Squad, the village’s contracted emergency medical services provider, have been responding to medical calls in the village since early last year. At times there have been conflicts over who — SLFD personnel or SLRS personnel — should make the call to bring in a paramedic (typically from Town of Salem Fire/Rescue) for advanced treatment such as administering certain pain drugs.

sl-fd-badgeThe issue of who can make the determination that a paramedic is needed surfaced at the Village Board level in August. At the Sept. 19 Village Board meeting, village attorney Linda Gray said she her research indicated that the highest rated entity — in this case SLRS — should make the call for paramedic service, unless an agreement stating otherwise is in place. In October, Silver Lake Fire Department member Greg Galich said he was dissatisfied with Gray’s Sept. 19 answer and sought an answer of his own from the same state department Gray questioned. He said he ultimately was told an independent contractor delivering emergency medical services — like SLRS — should answer to the village fire chief, in a concept called unified command. Galich is a retired Kenosha Fire Department officer. Galich’s understanding of who should make the paramedic call — SLFD personnel — was written into a contract submitted for SLRS approval in October.  Village President Sue Gerber was the only vote against sending the contract to SLRS. However, after voting she apologized for doing so because she has a known conflict of interest with voting on issues related to SLRS due to family connections. Trustee Michael Decker was absent from that October meeting.

Wednesday, Gerber said the latest communication from state officials affirms Gray’s findings that SLRS should make the medical call. The two departments should operate under unified command under the village controlled SLFD, but the decision on the medical aspect of whether a paramedic should be called still should lie with personnel from the highest rated EMS entity, in this case SLRS, the letter also says.

“The fire department will not interfere with medical calls,” Gerber said. “If they do not abide by this decision from the state, this will become a legal issue. ”

Gray suggested that Gerber inform fire Chief Andrew McFarlane of the state opinion and how it is to be followed.

The rescue issue meshed with another issue Gerber brought up earlier in the meeting regarding the fire department. She contended that day staffing for the fire department was not needed as long as the village continues to contract with SLRS for EMS. Firefighter staffing during the day was originally instituted to provide first responders for medical calls in anticipation of Salem providing EMS to the village, an arrangement that fell through. Instead of continuing with daytime FD staffing she proposed making a temporary part-time maintenance department employee permanent.

To keep occupied, day time firefighters who are on duty and being paid have been asked to do other tasks around village hall, such as shoveling snow and cleaning in village hall.

Gerber said that arrangement in her opinion is not working because some individuals are unwilling to do it and some need a lot of direction or supervision from maintenance.

“To me it’s unproductive work,” Gerber said.

Trustee Michael Decker, a former SLFD firefighter, seemed to agree with Gerber.

“I personally dislike the idea of paying someone to sit over there for eight hours,” Decker said. “There isn’t enough work.”

But others defended the benefits of having firefighters on hand. Trustee Sotiria Wilber said she felt maintenance issues have been decreased because firefighters are regularly checking equipment. She also pointed out that having one firefighter on hand means only having to wait for one other to respond in the case of a fire call.

Trustee Cyndy Schwebke said maybe a compromise on paying firefighters for day shifts is in order such as 4 paid hours with 4 volunteers hours. But she also likened paying for the staffing to insurance.




  1. Bernard Punsley says:

    What an atrocity we witnessed at this meeting! The Queen is now dictating to ‘her court” how the kingdom will be run, at the behest of SLRS, who are behind the curtain pulling her strings. The glee she displayed in her disparaging remarks cutting down the Fire Chief, the Fire Department, the Ad hoc committee, Mr. Galich and anyone else who would DARE question the operation of the Silver Lake Rescue Squad was pathetic. She was downright giddy in surgically cutting apart those folks. Fire Department response during the daytime has been a problem for how long now? The solution, cut daytime staffing, cut the department budget, publically lambast them every chance you get, and continue to ignore the operational issues affecting them. And get Mike Decker to join in with you. Colleen and Roger’s assertion we should be talking to Randall fire department is priceless. Lets’ see, SLRS provides EMS to Randall….ah….now the pieces of the puzzle begin to fall into place. Remember folks, we don’t NEED paramedics in Silver Lake, we only have 2 paramedic level calls a year. Where have we heard that before? Oh I remember. Rescue is ‘licking their chops” right now…..virtually every problem identified by the Ad Hoc Committee has begun to surface. Fire & Rescue services in our village are a train wreck. Fire and Rescue are BOTH supposed to answer to the Village Board. Only one entity does. We know who the Queen answers to. As Yogi Berra always said “It ain’t over til it’s over”.

  2. Bernard Punsley says:

    Ask yourself……did all of the board members receive a copy of the letter the Queen held up in her hands prior to the meeting? Or did she hold it as her “trump card” to play to callously? If you are a board member, you know the answer to that question. I don’t recall some of you speaking up on the issue last night…………..maybe you felt as blindsided as some of the other folks did! Well did you, or didn’t you?

  3. Bernard Punsley says:

    I thnk Cyndy Schwebke has a valid point that might be considered, regarding the firefighters getting paid for 4 hours and volunteering 4 hours. Mike Decker doesn’t think there is enough “work” to warrant that, so the firefighters could “volunteer” for the 4 hours they are supposedly sitting around doing nothing. I like the idea so much, that I think the village clerk, police chief, police officers, maintenance mechanic,etc should ALL follow that same procedure. I’d be curious as to what Mike Decker thinks SLRS employees are doing across the railroad tracks during their paid day shifts.I hope not “sitting around”.

  4. Bernard Punsley says:

    Consider the irony here..every nail that the Queen and her cohorts pound into the fire department’s casket lid shows more than ever that not only was the Ad Hoc Committee right(the fire department cannot meet it’s obligations)but that Salem Fire & Rescue is needed in our village more than ever. Shouldn’t take the new board members more than 5 minutes to figure that out. Keep pounding that gavel, Sue!

  5. More Unethical Stuff from Sue says:

    Sue does it again. She went totally behind the ENTIRE board and spoke with those individuals. She didn’t even have the courtesy to provide copies to the other trustees. They had to ask for them. How can anyone continue to work with her when she doesn’t communicate with anyone. Only to bring up good points on behalf of her beloved SLRS. Again, doesnt all this violate the Ethics Policy?? She was already found guilty of violating the Ethics Policy last year, does she need to go thru round two to get it that she is not to discuss SLRS!!!

  6. Bernard Punsley says:

    Citizens of Silver Lake….imagine this scenario….you suffer a heart attack and are pulseless,non breathing. Silver Lake Fire is first upon scene, as Silver Lake Rescue is coming back from a call transporting a patient to the hospital. The fire truck has a paramedic on board with them,as well as several seasoned EMTs. They correctly determine that this patient will need paramedic level care. As you lie there slowly dying, and your relatives are imploring fire to start some type of advance care, they inform you that they are not licensed to do that, they will do their best, but that the patient will have to wait until Silver Lake Rescue squad arrives on scene to determine whether or not your loved one needs the assistance of Salem Fire/Rescue Paramedics. That’s right, Queen Sue and her Court have made SURE that the Fire Department cannot call Salem upgraded levels of care, onlyl Silver Lake Rescue Squad can. Absurd? Life threatening might be a better description. But remember, SLRS will tell you “We don’t need paramedics in Silver Lake, we only get 2 paramedic calls a year”(their words, not mine). Just pray it isn’t your loved one dying on the floor in front of you while the firefighters work frantically to save the patient, with one hand tied behind their backs thanks to the politics in Silver Lake. Think this is a far fetched scenario? Think again. And for Sue to try and turn this(who gets to call for the Paramedic upgrade)into a legal liability issue, well I think the surviving family members would have a FIELD DAY in court.

  7. Toady says:

    So Bernard is at it again… More hypothetical situations! When has there been a complaint about the rescue squads service? Why does the fire dept need the power? Are people dying left and right on the rescue squads watch? The fire dept is to fight fires the rescue squad is to for medical assistance. When your pipes leak do you call a plumber or an electrician? It was founded as a volunteer fire dept! The other jobs such as the police were not found as volunteer jobs. The rescue personal can do what there company decides on company time that’s the beauty of a private company vs public company or govt entity. The men and women being paid by the village gained there own experience to be qualified for a particular job. Anyone who would like to Volunteer there time can join the volunteer fire dept. let me guess next the great people of silver lake will want members for the PTA robe paid for volunteering as well. If they keep listening to Greg Galich you will all be getting a govt pay day and pension for volunteering! Haha

  8. let the truth be known says:

    Really Folks!!!!! tell me when the call came in for a CO detecter going off on SPRUCE ST. WHY was there only one fireman responding from the station??? Well i guess that was the only one that could respond.were was the rest of the dept.The fire chief came to the call in his personal vechile HE DOESNT EVEN LIVE IN SILVERLAKE!!!!! And you think they have the right to call for a PARAMEDIC were are they going to call from THEIR HOME???? MR.PUNSLEY your not going to be HAPPY with anything that the village pres. does you call her the QUEEN well the QUEEN beat you in the election.SO GO CRAWL BACK UNDER YOUR ROCK AND STOP CRYING!!!!!!

  9. Jackie Moon says:

    hope you run for village president at least u make sence.
    What can we do to stop this there has to be a law somewhere

  10. Concerned citizen says:

    Bernard you add nothing to conversation. Your scenario is both ignorant and not even close to reality. No one on SLR or SLFD would withhold any advanced care for a PNB because of some political nonsense. Please stop lying to this community and trying to push your agenda on everyone.

  11. Bernard Punsley says:

    To Colleen and company…”Silver Lake Fire” was founded as a “volunteer” company and should stay that way. OK. You folks familiar with Silver Lake Rescue Squad knows that very same sentiment holds true for your organization. Many of the original founding members would not even accept ANY pay for their efforts..that is commendable. Times change, needs change. Silver Lake Rescue now pays people to staff the fire station during the day time hours? Why? Same reason Fire wants to….because there are not enough citizens living in the village during the day to answer a call!
    To Toady: “the fire department is to fight fires, and the rescue squad is for medical assistance”. Your words, not mine. Lets say I agree with you. WHY is the fire department then responding to medical calls with Silver Lake Rescue Squad?
    Fire should stay back and let the Rescue squad handle the medical emergencies. I know you were at the meeting when “the Queen” held up her “magic wand” she received from the State of Wisconsin and issued her edict “THIS MUST STOP”..that being Silver Lake Fire performing EMS duties. You heard it, I heard it, everyone in that room heard it. To follow your thinking…why is Silver Lake Fire responding on fire calls? Concerned Citizen…Per SUE GERBER…Silver Lake Fire Department WILL NOT BE ALLOWED TO CALL FOR PARAMEDIC LEVEL SERVICE FROM SALEM. ONLY SILVER LAKE RESCUE CAN DO THAT. Did you step out of the room for a “reality check” when “The Queen” was issuing that directive? Did you not read the articles in the Kenosha News and the West of the I? I’m making this up? Really!!!! I

  12. Colleen Dykstra says:

    Bernard Punsley you might think I am writing comments on the West Of The I but little do you know it is not me because I would not be afraid to sign my name instead of hiding behind a factious name like you ! I do not have to write comments I speak up at the meeting not like you recording the meetings ! Then you intrepid it the way you want it instead of telling the truth . Why don’t you grow up and quit name calling her name is Sue Gerber not the queen !

  13. Bernard Punsley says:

    “Colleen”…….I shall continue to monitor the pulse of this village, to the chagrin of many, yours truly, apparently. I’ve witnessed you stand up and try to bully the board members many times. As a member of the “Queen’s Court”, you are exempt from her gavel pounding prowess. While folks like you continue the popular sport of “Bernard Bashing”, you conveniently routinelly fail to address any of the questions or concerns that I bring up. Did we spend $200,000 for a library? Did we fail to properly provide breathing apparatus for our firefighters. Does the rescue squad have $400,000+ in their coffers or not. Has our fire department been told by “The Queen” that they CANNOT call Salem Fire/Rescue for paramedic services? I can keep going on. According to you, I’m lying. If I am, please provide the truth then. I’ll await your response, or better yet, just wait until the next board meeting when you’ll get up on your high horse to offer your expertise.

  14. Bernard Punsley says:

    “Concerned Citizen”..I think that monniker might fit me better than you! Not only am I “concerned” about the well-being of our village, I try to offer some type of alternatives for the board to consider…..often with “tongue in cheek”, no doubt.
    But you naysayers and whiners..what have you offered? Gibberish~~~!! That’s what!!!! “Hammer Away” at me all you want….what are your suggestions to resolve our issues? Most of you have adopted the “ostrich philosophy” know, stick your head in the ground, the problems will go away. Tonite our respective boards(Silver Lake and Salem)are going to discuss “shared services”.
    Salem has a BEAUTIFUL library 5 minutes away, that Silver Lake residents helped pay for. Our response….spend $200,000 for our own library,,,,,ignore the rest of the fiscal issues facing our village. I have a “Concern’ about that!!

  15. Bernard Punsley says:

    To my doubters….”The Queen’s” treating our fire department like they are her personal “minions’ are what earned her that nickname. As appropriate as “Mudslinging Sue” was, the new name fits her air of pompousness! And she recruited “Decker the Defector” in her quest to dismantle the fire department.I continue to ask…what happens when the Silver Lake Fire Department folds up? Oh yeah, now I remember….Randall Fire Department will come in and take over. Now THAT’S A RELIEF!!!! I will ask again…Can Silver Lake Fire call for Salem Paramedics or not? If they cannot, why not? P-O-L-I-T-I-C-S! That’s why~

  16. Education says:

    Yes Bernie investing in education is a horrible direction for the village! If our citizens and the future citizens of the village are educated then who will blindly follow someone like you?

  17. Bernard Punsley says:

    @Education…….I did not realize I had “followers”. What a compliment. And if you are THAT interested in “investing in education”…..apparently you’ve been living in a cave when Act 10 came through our village and slammed into Riverview school. If you call spending $250,000 to purchase a building to provide a library for our citizens “investing in education”…then back it up with the funding to STAFF the building. Who’s going to maintain the building, provide staff to operate the building, etc? What line item is that listed in the 2014 budget…I can’t seem to find it anywhere. By inference, you seem to think our current citizens are NOT educated! Read your post again! Because you clearly imply folks are “blindly following” me. If so, they must be uneducated, by your logic. It takes more that ‘brick and mortar” to “educate” someone! And I have more followers than you might imagine. Sign up now for the “Bernard Punsley Fan Club” membership…..applications are going FAST!

  18. Education? says:

    Did Bernie say he doesn’t want to invest in education? I think not. This library is not needed and once again a duplication of services. We already help pay for one. And I do not blindly follow. Bernie obviously is well informed, unlike others.

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