Salem proposal would see new role for Silver Lake Rescue Squad in village

sl-rescue-squad-backA proposal for Salem servicing Silver Lake for fire protection and emergency medical services as currently proposed foresees a different role for Silver Lake Rescue than it is currently serving for the village.

Currently, the rescue squad, a stand alone agency that the village contracts for service with, is the village’s main EMS provider, including providing transport to a hospital when needed. Silver Lake Fire Department members also respond as first responders. Transport is a key element because rescue agencies can bill insurance companies or patients for that service.

Under the proposed Salem agreement as currently envisioned, Silver Lake Rescue would be hired by Salem to provide that first response in support of Town of Salem Fire/Rescue personnel, who also would respond to medical calls in Silver Lake. Explains Salem fire Chief Mike Slover:

Details have not been worked out for the contract and other good ideas might come up but as of now, we would utilize Silver Lake Rescue for 1st emergency response within the Village. Our intent is to provide ALS care with minimum delay for all citizens so our EMS unit would be dispatched on all calls. Salem most likely will transport all calls unless other calls dictate mutual aid and/or Silver Lake Rescue to transport. This is how our contract currently is with Silver Lake Rescue in outlying areas of the Town of Salem.”

How EMS and fire protection is to be handled in the village has been an ongoing issue for a couple of years. The proposal from Salem is the latest possibility. It was presented at a joint meeting between the boards of the two municipalities Monday and is expected to be voted on at the Feb. 5 regular Village Board meeting, with discussion at a committee of the whole meeting before then for which a specific date has not been set yet.

A request for comment from Silver Lake Rescue Squad Inc. has not been answered.



  1. Bernard Punsley says:

    I would think that the Silver Lake Rescue Squad would wholeheartedly embrace this proposal. It keeps their fine organization “in the loop” so to speak, as they will continue to provide their fine services to the citizens of Silver Lake, as well as helping to embrace the upgrade of paramedic level service to our citizens. It is a “win-win” for everyone. Consider this Bernard’s “olive branch” as our community moves forward. SLRS, your services are vital to making this work. Let’s get to work and make this happen.

  2. TeddW says:

    So, Salem is going to charge 100K and have 2 rescue squads, 1 or 2 other vehicles plus an engine or two show up for every call in Silver Lake just like they do in Salem? THAT will be special…

  3. Skeptical says:

    The proposal is very open ended at this time. It certainly is not time to commit to a contract that is still unwritten. Questions like will SL Rescue and Salem Fire agree on compensation due rescue? Will Salem have to position a paramedic in the Silver Lake building in order to cover their own territory on the edge of Wheatland? Will Salem have to position firemen in the Silver Lake firehouse in order to service Silver Lake and that same Shorewood territory?

    But mostly if it becomes necessary to add additional persons to their daily roster, how much will Salem additionally charge the residents of Silver Lake?

    The agreement as presented clearly leaves room for additional costs being billed back to Silver Lake.

    Don’t forget each rescue call will cost about 2ce as much as each patient currently pays Silver Lake Rescue. No where is it mentioned that if the rescue bill exceeds the Medicare payment, Salem will forgive the difference. That is the deal we currently have with Silver Lake Rescue. But it is possible this proposal will force some of our elder residents into bankruptcy.

    Sounds like a great deal for Salem. They get Silver Lake to pay for the people it takes to cover their outlying area.

    Dig deep, Silver Lake, this is not the rosy picture being painted by the board members who are rushing agreement-without-discussion. Seems like a contract should be negotiated, not devoured!

  4. Bernard Punsley says:

    @TeddW……While Salem might be “charging” Silver Lake $100,000 with the expenditures that they are absorbing, it’s almost a financial “wash”. Remember, the Village of Silver Lake will not have a “fire department budget” anymore. So from a fiscal standpoint, this is a definite “win-win” for both communities. And when I have a fire or medical emergency, I’ll take all the help that my community wants to send!!!! If you’ve ever tried to carry a cot with a 250# patient on it through a foot of snow, from their house to the back of the ambulance, you are NOT going to accomplish that with 2 people. In any emergency, the key is getting properly trained and equipped personnel on scene QUICKLY! And West of the I, nobody does it better than Salem Fire/Rescue.
    Bristol FD is pretty efficient at it too! When my house is on fire, I’m sure not gonna complain to the Fire Chief…” sent too many fire trucks”! So Tedd, the upgrade of the Fire/Rescue services in Silver Lake,which INCLUDES utilizing the fine services of Silver Lake Rescue Squad is a tremendous bonus for our citizens. Now if you have fiscal concerns, let’s address the $200,000 library that we needed so badly, the purchase got rammed through the back door. No “Let’s Have a Referendum” here…nope, Mike Faber greased the skids on this one. Wonder what the heating bill on our new “Taj Mahal” will be on a frigid day like today. Keep your calculator handy.

  5. dave says:

    Ya that’s a great idea. Silver lake cut your losses and walk away from a village that clearly doesn’t value your services. Let Salem take it and screw it up then when the village comes back to you guys its game on. How f*cin stupid. There revenue is from the transports. Not from the pennies the village pays. I don’t think anyone gets what it costs to run a squad. Yet salem ‘s bill will make them crap themselves. Bs the residents are getting screwed

  6. Bernard Punsley says:

    Let me get this straight…..our village can “borrow” $7 million to upgrade Riverview school, we can “borrow” $250,000 to buy a library, but having Salem Fire/Rescue provide our services is going to “bankrupt our senior citizens” ? Even
    “Dave” realizes “there(sic) revenue is from the transports”. HELLO???!!! Dave, you didn’t mention Silver Lake Rescue Squads MOUNTAIN OF CASH($400,000?)
    that they compiled…how? From RESCUE SQUAD TRANSPORT FEES? The whiners and snivellers can try and pull all of their tricks out of the bag…..the proposal is in the best interests of our citizens. Most of our board members realize this and will have the courage to withstand the “onslaught” of criticism being slung around the village. And…ah “Dave”…you conveniently FORGOT to mention that SLRS is PART of the PROPOSED CONTRACT, should they decide to participate. If they want to “take their ball and go home”, that is their choice.
    As to “Skeptical”, you could make those same “rushing agreement without discussion” arguments about our $250,000 library….I note you did not. I don’t know how you can say their has been no “discussion” on this issue. Have you been living in a cave?

  7. Pat W. says:

    To Mr. Punsley & So So Soti Mr. Dunn and company. What happened to free? That is what this all stated to be. FREE service from Salem? Don’t bet the farm
    on this this idea. The take over is lock, stock & barrel. The trucks, the NEW air packs that were urgently needed ( now to be given to Salem) and even the air in the tires. What a nice package for Salem. Speaking of the heat in a building. What is the temp in the fire dept. these days. Toasty I bet.

  8. Bernard Punsley says:

    @Pat W….exactly WHERE did you see that this proposal for service was to be FREE? Please advise. Are you saying the current services that SLRS and SLFD provide are FREE? Make up all the lies you want, the village board has the figures in front of them. I suppose the new library building was “FREE” as well.
    I don’t know what meetings you are attending, but I have NEVER seen or heard at any meeting I’ve been to that this proposal was FREE. Can you back it up?
    We’re waiting for you documentation.

    1. @Bernard — The initial agreement with Salem considered last year definitely was presented by the village officials who favored it as free to the village. Salem was to be compensated by transportation fees they could charge clients and their insurance companies. Silver Lake FD also would eventually cover for fire protection the area of Salem north of the village along the Fox River. When that arrangement came before the whole Salem Town Board, some members questioned the fairness of that arrangement to the town and to other municipalities the town serves for fire/EMS and does charge a fee. The town board never acted on the proposal.

  9. Bernard Punsley says:

    @Darren Hillock……you are correct…..thank you for the clarification, a major “faux paus” on my part… Pat W., my apologies for questioning your contention that the original proposal was “free”. Remember one thing, Sue Gerber lead the charge to block that proposal!!! While Salem officials might just be downright giddy about getting some “free air”, remember one thing, it is currently “winter air” that is in the fire truck tires. Come spring, Salem FD will have to replace that air with “summer air”, and expense THEY will have to incur, and not Silver Lake. Salem has offered to “give” Silver Lake $50,000 for our “white elephant” library. Can’t imagine what the heating bill will be for that given our colder winters. As the rest of the communities have “seen the light”, the costs we’ve incurred to try and get this library up and running will drain from the rest of our village budget, making the arrangement with Salem Fire/Rescue even MORE attractive!

  10. Bernard Punsley says:

    Just a little bit of further clarification…the original “free” agreement was for Salem Fire/Rescue to provide EMS services to the village of Silver Lake. The SLFD would continue to exist, along with it’s annual budget. So in the sense that Salem was providing “free” service(in exchange for transport fees and SLFD covering part of Salem), the village still had to budget for fire protection. The new agreement eliminates the SLFD budget. While the new proposal is a slight increase over the old SLFD budget, the services Silver Lake will receive overall make this a “win-win” for everyone! If I’ve confused anyone, sorry, it appears I may have even confused myself!!!

  11. Pat W. says:

    Yes Mr. Punsley, you are confused but at least you admit it. The white elephant is the contract with Salem. This is just the start of the takeover. One foot in the door and they will become the bogeyman that your mother told you about. The $1M safety budget will only get bigger and this will not be a bargain for anyone.

    Thanks to Mr. Hillock for refreshing the memory of Mr. Punsley. In his haste to post he often forgets the facts.

    Also, if you want to increase revenue you could charge Mr. Punsley by the word. Remember, free speech is not free.

  12. Bernard Punsley says:

    Ah…but Pat… words are “priceless”! I shall add you to my list of loyal followers! Bernard

  13. Bernard Punsley says:

    @Pat W. As you appear to have taken on the role of my “alter-ego”, I would be interested in any alternative plans that you might be able to provide. I have provided MANY along the way. Most of my detractors just want me to go away and ‘leave things as they are”. Provide some suggestions. Can you advise whether or not SLRS has a $400,000 mountain of cash they are sitting on? Nobody seems to want to touch the subject. You brought up the “increasing revenue” issue, certainly you cannot believe that ambulance transports are “free”? Folks offering suggestions that Randall or Wheatland FD be offered the chance to provide fire protection to our village are really living in some type of time warp. Not sure where you got the $1 million safety budget figure…can you advise on that. Maybe you and I could work together on this and come up with something compatible that everyone could live with. We could call ourselves “The Pat Punsley” team…I like the possibilities! I must warn you, be prepared for a ton of adulation, mixed in with some occasional scorn!!

  14. Pat W. says:

    Well Mr. Punsley you have again broken your promise to the people. In your 1/23/14 posting @ 5:09 A. M. you were gracious to extend an olive branch to Silver Lake Rescue. You have again lied through your teeth and have struck out at Silver Lake Rescue without cause.

    You frequently mention the ” mountain of cash ” that Silver Lake has stashed away. This is for you to prove. This is your cause, so show us the money.

    Imagine me working with you. I don’t like Y-baggers!!!

  15. Bernard Punsley says:

    @Pat W. Alas…….somebody BESIDES myself has mentioned the “mountain of cash”!!!! SLRS cringes whenever they read that… your bringing the issue back into the limelight is somewhat refreshing. As you may know, SLRS is a private entity, they do not have to “provide their books” to the village board. And as you will see just about any time I mention the “mountain of cash”, I add the caveat that the money BELONGS to SLRS, they EARNED it, it is not anyone elses!
    I have stated that REPEATEDLY. Why? Because that’s where the “rubber meets the road”. SLRS would not be able to stay in business(at least it would be very difficult for them)without the income they receive from ambulance transport fees. That’s the nature of the beast. You might recall that the initial Ad Hoc committee(remember those evil creatures!) wanted to combine SLRS and SLFD together as one entity, under a single unified command. The primary problem was SLFD’s inability to get a fire rig out the door during the day due to lack of manpower. When SLRS faced the same issue, they went to providing paid staffing during the daytime hours. The thought process was that by combining the 2 entities with crossed trained firefigher/EMT’s(with paramedic sometime in the future), either the fire truck or the ambulance could immediately roll out the door during the day. At no time was the “mountain of cash” EVER considered to be turned over to the village. That $$$ was(and is)earned by SLRS members, they could do whatever they wanted to with it. As is now well known, that plan failed miserably, and alternative solutions were sought. SLFD still cannot get a rig out the door in a timely fashion during the day, due to lack of manpower. For those of us that live in the village, most of us do not actually work in the village. So when we leave our village in the morning to go to our jobs, who’s left behind to answer our fire calls? And Pat W., like it or not, you ARE working with me, helping point the finger right back at SLRS. So keep spittin’ those olive pits out of your mouth. We make a GREAT TEAM!!!

  16. Concerned says:

    Bernard, to quote from your post of 2/1 at 6:04am. “The thought process was that by combining the 2 entities with crossed trained firefigher/EMT’s(with paramedic sometime in the future), either the fire truck or the ambulance could immediately roll out the door during the day.” Is it not pretty standard procedure that the rescue squad responds to fire calls as well? You mention the plan would allow either the fire truck or the ambulance to roll. Don’t you typically need both? This is one of the reasons that plan was not going to work. How did you see it working?

  17. Bernard Punsley says:

    @Concerned. Nice try. Under Silver Lake’s current set up, a “difficulty breathing” call comes in. The ambulance rolls right away, supplemented by fire personnel WHENEVER they can (IF THEY CAN)get to the fire station to respond. That’s because the ambulance has manpower staffing the station so they can immediately respond. Now lets take the same current set up…a “rollover” car accident or a “structure fire” in the village. SLRS rolls immediately out the door….still have to wait for fire…..what are those 2 squad members supposed to do when they pull up on either scene? Without the proper equipment? Scene safety, personal protection…all those sorts of things? Take a “cross-trained” fire/EMS staffed station…they don’t jump on the ambulance, they jump on the fire truck and roll out the door. Yes,they will need to be augmented by backup or mutual aid responding units….my point is you MAXIMIZE the potential of those employees “sitting” in the station. Fire has a big problem staffing during daytime hours..most of them are at work out of town. Rescue had the same problems, and addressed it by staffing the station during daytime hours with paid personnel. “Cross staffing” is done throughout the country. Is it ideal? NO! It can’t compare to having a staffed fire truck and a staffed ambulance sitting in a station or in seperate stations. But was the plan BETTER than what is currently in place? ABSOLUTELY!!!

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