What are First Responders ?
First Responders are medically trained volunteers who respond directly to an emergency, in their own vehicle, to bridge the time gap until an ambulance can arrive from Park Falls or Mercer. In a rural setting like Springstead, First Responders are local Sherman residents equipped with a wide variety of medical equipment and supplies that are able to respond in a timely manner.
How are First Responders dispatched ??
Just like dispatch for a fire, ambulance or law enforcement, First Responders are dispatched by calling 911. The "911" call is answered by a dispatcher at the Iron County Sheriff’s Department who will ask for basic information and then call out both the First Responders and either Park Falls or Mercer ambulance service. In most cases, a First Responder will be at your side in 5 to 10 minutes after the 911 call.
Local Background & History
In February of 2005, nine volunteers began training through Nicolet Community College. These nine and other volunteers began raising funds to pay for the training and for equipment needed to operate the group. After completing 60 hours of initial training, the First Responders began to serve the community on June 1, 2005. Our first call came on that very day; a car rollover on Hwy 182.
In just over ten years of operation, we have responded to a total of 264 emergency calls in the Town of Sherman. Emergency responders have provided assistance to year-round residents, part-time residents, tourists/visitors and travelers on Highways 182 and 47. Responses have included a wide variety of emergencies like car accidents, snowmobile wrecks, heart attacks, broken bones and bee stings. We also respond to weather emergencies and do standby at fire calls.
Staffing & Training
Currently, we have ten dedicated First Responders who take 30 hours of refresher training every other year to remain current with State licensing requirements. Three members of our group are certified at the EMT-Basic level, and one member is a Registered Nurse. We also conduct monthly training sessions throughout the year.
As an independent volunteer non-profit group, funding for equipment and training is necessary. Thanks to overwhelming community support, our group has been outfitted with equipment including AED's (defibrillators), a full complement of medical supplies and communication gear for each member. About 80% of our funding has come from private donations and fundraisers, with the remainder coming from Town government and a small grant.
Community Service & Outreach Programs
As a service organization we feel it is important to give something back to the community. To this end we have initiated the following programs:
911 Stickers – we have distributed bright orange "In Case of Emergency-Dial 911" stickers to property owners. These stickers are designed to be placed on your telephone.
Vial of Life Program - we began a "Vial of Life” program which insures that valuable medical information can be passed on to emergency personnel during a call. To start this program, First Responders went door-to-door to explain the program. For more information, contact any First Responder.
First Aid Stations – If you are holding a special event we are happy to be on standby or to set up a first aid station for you. Currently we provide this service at the annual Sherman VFD corn roast, the Whitetails Unlimited event for kids on Blockhouse Lake, and the “Boat- Swamp” held at Springstead Lake Lodge every summer. We also have provided safety measures at the Springstead Sprint (triathlon) since it started in 2006.
Community Appreciation Picnic
Every year, on Labor Day Saturday, we hold a friendly gathering at the Sherman pavilion to express our sincere thanks and appreciation to the Springstead community for their continued support. We serve a picnic lunch, hold raffles, and enjoy getting together with friends and neighbors.
If you have any questions, or want to know more about our organization, please contact our EMS Chief, Brad Matson, by telephone at (715) 583-2393. Or contact us by postal mail to P.O. Box 32, Mercer, WI 54547, or by email to: ShermanFirstResponder@yahoo.com. We are always looking for individuals who have an interest in joining our group.
In closing, we pledge continued service to the Town of Sherman, its residents, our friends and neighbors.
Brad Matson, EMT-Basic & Chief Carol & Fred Matson
Joyce & Kal Patzer Amy & Daniel Slone
Fran VanDerel, RN Roy Funk, EMT-Basic
Theresa Wilson, EMT-Basic Tom Mowbray (Sec./Treas.)
Mike VanDerel, Associate Member