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By LeAnn R. Ralph
BOYCEVILLE — Even though more than a dozen Emergency Medical Technicians have resigned from the Boyceville ambulance service, if you live in the Boyceville service area and you need an ambulance — someone will respond to your call.
Following the resignations, the Boyceville ambulance service will continue operating with a limited staff and with mutual aid from neighboring ambulance services, said Wayne Dow, director of the Boyceville ambulance service.
The EMTs announced their resignations at the April 14 meeting of the Boyceville Community Ambulance District Board.
Since Boyceville is operating with a limited staff, the ambulance service will not always be able to provide an ambulance if needed, but the service will be able to rely on mutual aid agreements with Colfax, Menomonie, Dallas and Glenwood City, Dow said.
On the evening that the Tribune Press Reporter spoke with Dow, he said the plan for that night was to send out one person to provide first aid until the mutual aid ambulance could arrive.
Dow said he’d had conversations with all of the service directors and had advised them of the status of the Boyceville service.
“We will provide the best possible care we can for the community,” he said.
All together, eight EMTs remain on staff at the Boyceville ambulance service, Dow said.
Boyceville is a full-time ambulance service that is staffed 24 hours per day.
According to a report given to the ambulance district board at the April 14 meeting, the ambulance service had gone out on 48 runs so far this year, which averages out to be one run every other day.
When asked if it was correct that 15 EMTs had resigned, Dow said he could not confirm the number because he had not received any letters of resignation.
The EMTs, who announced that they intended to resign after the ambulance district board had formally adjourned the meeting, said they were resigning because the board had not listened to them and had not hired the director they wanted.
Dow grew up in Boyceville and is a retired paramedic who served with Dubuque Fire and Rescue in Dubuque, Iowa, for 24 years. He served for 14 years as the EMS supervisor and the ambulance service director.
Dubuque has a population of 60,000, and the Dubuque fire department has a Class 2 Insurance Services Office (ISO) rating. ISO classes range from 1 to 10.
In addition to working with the neighboring ambulance service directors, Dow said he is working with the State of Wisconsin and that the state is fully aware of the situation.
Boyceville is not the only ambulance service in the state that is short on EMTs, Dow said.
In the near future, Dow anticipated publishing advertisements for employment and also would be working with Chippewa Valley Technical College in Eau Claire and Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College in New Richmond to find EMTs to staff the Boyceville service.
According to the Wisconsin Office on Rural Health, Dow said, it is not unusual for rural ambulance services to have turn-over in employees.
“We will continue to try to do our best for the community,” he said.
Herb Dow, Wayne Dow’s father, passed away in December of 2019 and had been a founding member of the Boyceville ambulance service, serving as an EMT from 1974 to 2004.