This article may be getting ahead of what I have been trying to write about but several recent incidents have lead my decision to give the community some “education” on “your” current Fire Department and Emergency Medical Service.

I will continue the history and how we reached the status of the current Fire Department and EMS, but I’m concerned that the safety of our citizens must come first.

Today the Clinton Fire Department and EMS is considered by the State of Wisconsin as a combination department.

We have one full-time staff (myself), three part-time staff (one firefighter/EMT and two EMT’s) and (as of this writing) one firefighter/EMT, 27 firefighters, two firefighter/ambulance drivers, 11 licensed EMT’s, two ambulance drivers and one firefighter/EMT intern.

Along with our eight Fire District Board of Trustees, that brings us to 60 employees. With the above we creatively staff the Fire Department and EMS 24 hours a day 365 days a year.

All firefighters, EMT’s and ambulance drivers are paid per call employees of the Clinton Fire Protection District (except the part time staff and Fire District Trustees).

Though keep in mind, our paid per call EMT’s schedule their shifts to cover a month in advance and this requires they stay available and are ready at a moments notice to respond to a call. EMT’s are paid stipends for the hours they cover on the schedule.

This is a very small amount and is intended to give the EMT that covered an entire evening or weekend without one call some form of gratitude for their service. There are very few all “volunteer” departments anymore in the State of Wisconsin.

If a firefighter or EMT receives anything in exchange for their service, they are a paid employee by State of Wisconsin standards. We get regular comments from fire station visitors looking for the “guys” sleeping quarters. We do not have anyone living at the station 24 hours a day; our part-time staff is Monday to Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. The part time staff’s primary responsibility is to cover the ambulance.

During that time, they may have duties that may take them out of the station and around town. PLEASE do not drive to the station looking for help because there may not be anyone here at the time of your emergency. Another question or comment we get is how much it is going to cost me for calling 911.

That depends on what you call for, whether it’s an ambulance or a fire engine. The District bills for the following items, ambulance calls, traffic accidents and multiple false alarms within a short time frame. That’s it! Almost everyone’s insurance company will cover these calls except the false alarm calls.

Do not hesitate to call based on the cost. Your emergency is why we are here and we are more than willing to respond to help when you call. So what should you do if you have an emergency? First let’s talk about what an emergency is? Merriam-Webster defines an emergency: as an unexpected and usually dangerous situation that calls for immediate action. That determination is your decision to make; you are having the emergency and if you feel the need for our help dial 911. Do not call your family, friend or co-worker for advice, DIAL 911, we are the experts.

Until next week, stay safe

Chief Rindfleisch