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Fire departments in northeastern Vilas County need more first responders and EMTs. They’re holding a training course to encourage applicants


EMTs are struggling to keep up with the number of calls coming into the Conover, Phelps and Land O’Lakes area.

“We’re just having so many more runs than what we used to,” said Steve Waier. He is the secretary treasurer of the Phelps Fire Department and a town supervisor for Phelps.

He says the issue is not the EMTs, but the lack of them.

“We’re sort of like all the towns throughout the whole state. We’re short [staffed]. We need more EMTs and First Responders. Obviously, that’s very important. The problem is the amount of EMTs we have are only a few and they’re getting burned out," said Waier.

In 2020, nearly a third of the workforce left their ambulance company after less than a year. That’s according to an American Ambulance Association survey of 258 EMS organizations in the country.

To encourage more people to become a first responder or EMT, the fire departments in northeastern Vilas County are holding training in the area.

There will be an orientation on April 12th and a 9-week training course starting April 26th, assuming enough people sign up.

The course will be conducted by Nicolet College but held in the Conover-Phelps area.

Waier encourages anyone with interest to give him a call to learn more.

“They’d have to have a commitment to helping others, to making a difference,” said Waier.

You can take the course at 17 but need to be 18 to be hired. The only other requirements are having a valid driver’s license and be able to pass a background check.

You call Waier at 715-617-5552 for information and to sign up.

Waier also encourages registered nurses to consider becoming an EMT, they would not need to go through the coursework.

Katie Thoresen is WXPR's News Director/Vice President.
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