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The reality some rural fire/EMS services are facing: 'If you call 911, nobody's coming'

Presque Isle’s EMS Director Donna Jukich says their emergency services are run entirely by volunteers, which she says no longer works.
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Posted at 3:10 PM, Aug 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-16 16:14:46-04

DOUSMAN -- To Two America’s, where we show you the America you may know or might not.

This includes the challenges rural fire and EMS workers face before they even get out the door.

James Small was just announced as the Office of Rural Health’s new EMS Outreach Program Manager. It is a role that was just created because Small says we are in a crucial time.

“In some rural communities, if you call 911, nobody's coming," he said.

He has already been in contact with Presque Isle’s EMS Director Donna Jukich.

Jukich says their emergency services are run entirely by volunteers, which she says no longer works.

“We’re supposed to respond to the page within five minutes and many times that could be 20 minutes (or) 30 minutes from the time someone calls 911," Jukich says. "People are going to dial 911 and there's not going to be anyone coming.”

Small said, “Doesn't it shock your conscience to think that right now someone can call 911 and there's not going to be an ambulance to respond?”

Small is now working to provide free consultations to help Presque Isle find solutions.

Jukich says she has seen the possibility that their volunteer EMS service will turn into a paid, full-time service.

That could be a hard sell. Just last week in Waukesha County, five out of seven communities rejected the Western Fire District’s referendum to boost staff.

A huge role in our community, Small believes it needs our support more than ever.

“Every day, every time you go out on a call is an opportunity to touch lives,” Small says.

Click here to learn more about James Small, or call (608) 265-8221.

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