08/24/2020- In the wake of a declining volunteer roster, the Wausaukee Rescue Squad is looking to change how it operates as a last-ditch effort to remain open. Last week, the agency proposed transitioning to a full-time paid squad. The pitch would have them compensating EMTs $15 per hour, EMRs $13 hourly, and drivers at $11 an hour. That means it would cost just shy of $360000 annually to keep a standard crew on call 24/7, a cost which would be split among the municipalities they cover, totaling about five times what each pays now. Wausaukee Rescue Squad was formed in 1960 as a volunteer organization. At its height there were more than 30 active members, but they’re now operating with just 8, with half of those members covering the majority of shifts. Under the proposal for a paid squad, they’d need at least 16 personnel on board. Wausaukee Rescue Squad President Steven Vandenberg says if their proposal is ultimately denied or they cannot find enough employees to fill the positions, they will be forced to close their doors at the end of the year.
The Wausaukee Rescue Squad serves the Town and Village of Wausaukee, Amberg, Middle Inlet, and Wagner.