Winchester EMS looking to technology to help fill staffing gaps

WGEM News at Ten
Published: Jan. 16, 2022 at 9:12 PM CST
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WINCHESTER, Ill. (WGEM) - Winchester EMS emergency medical technician Jennifer McMillen said they’re responding to more calls of people needing CPR and it’s taking it’s toll on their dwindling staff.

“Because of the calls during the day, calls during the night and when there’s only four people running calls you’re on 24/7, seven days a week,” she said.

She said they’re operating with only four people, two full-time and two part-time, and she said that’s not enough.

“Because you never know when that pager is going to go off and it’s a life or death situation,” McMillen said.

Winchester EMS President Randy Dolen said their average of four CPR calls a year rose to about 15 in 2021.

He said volunteer recruitment efforts aren’t working, so they’re raising community donations to purchase two “LUCAS” devices.

He said the device is able to provide high-quality chest compressions, which will decrease EMT fatigue as well as the need for as many EMTs.

“It basically gives us another set or two of hands in the back of the rig,” Dolen said.

Dolen said they’ve already seen the device in action.

“We’ve had South Jacksonville [Fire Department] meet us a couple times and they have a LUCAS machine and they’ve met us and we’ve used it,” he said.

Dolen said their goal is to raise $16,500 for each device for a total of $33,000. He said they’re about a third of the way with about $10,000.

He said all funds will come from the community, with no funds from local, state or federal governments.

He said you can donate to their Venmo account Winchester – EMS (phone code 9338), directly to farmers State Bank, to the EMS shed or mail to PO Box 122, Winchester.

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