MFL Ambulance Service needs your help

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Members of the MFL Ambulance Service and Farmersburg First Responders include (front, left to right) Nick Torkelson, Claire Pape, Cynthia Tokelson, Mary Bissell, Melanie Cahoon, Scott Henkes, Carla Pester; (back) Scott Torkelson, Wendy Gress-Yearous, Jenny Torkelson, Preston Landt, Rachel Fritz, Billie Jones, Jim Schellhorn and Brian Berger. (Photo by Audrey Posten)

Actually, you need help!

The MFL Ambulance Service and Farmersburg First Responders need your help. The service is totally staffed by volunteer EMTs, EMRs and drivers. The volunteer numbers have gone from over 30 EMTs 25 years ago to just around 15 volunteer EMTs, four first responders and six drivers. Some drivers are also volunteer firemen.

The service has averaged over 220 calls per year for the past several years. This, combined with the fewer number of volunteers, has put a high stress load on the remaining volunteers.

Why is this so important to you? If the remaining volunteers continue to be overloaded, there may come a time when the area will be unable to staff its own ambulance service. This would result in much longer response times, as community members would need to rely on other ambulance services from surrounding communities. This could involve a paid service, which would result in longer waiting time for help and a higher financial cost for the patient. Many emergency situations would not have a favorable outcome with longer response times.

Businesses in the area have been extremely supportive of the ambulance service. This support not only includes monetary donations but also allowing employees to serve the community as an EMT, first responder or driver while working. This benefits everyone in the area.

This is very important because it allows fast response times for emergency situations. Carrying a pager at work can be inconvenient for the business, fellow workers and customers, but this allows the quick response to the area’s emergency situations. The MFL Ambulance Service is appreciative of these businesses, workers and customers for their contributions.

How can you help?

1) Volunteer to be an EMT or first responder for the service.

2) If you know someone who would volunteer, encourage them to take the classes this fall.

3) If you are a RN, PA or RN-P, you can run with the service after 15 runs with a full crew.

Hopefully, more people will get involved so the service is able to get back up to the volunteer base it had in the past.

The MFL Ambulance Service covers the cost of the class for those intending to volunteer for the service. A two-year commitment is required, meaning carrying two, eight-hour shifts during the week and going on the weekend rotation.

After passing the class, an EMT or first responder needs to keep up their continuing education, which is offered at the Monona location during the monthly ambulance meetings. Yes, it requires a commitment, but it is worth it on so many levels, not only for the community, but to the volunteer’s circle of friends and family.

MFL has reason to be proud of the ambulance service. The response time is one of the fastest in the area. Crews are well-equipped and have the experience to handle a wide variety of emergency calls. They are wonderful, dedicated people. The EMTs, first responders and drivers make a huge sacrifice to do this, but they do so knowing they are making the community a better and safer place to live, work and grow.

To volunteer or get more information, please contact MFL Ambulance Board President Mary Zittergruen at (563) 539-2856, MFL EMT Crew Chief Mary Bissell at (563) 880-1020 or MFL EMT Assistant Crew Chief Preston Landt at (319) 538-3137.

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