Local News

For many rural communities, first responders heavily rely on citizen volunteers to bolster resource-constrained fire and emergency service departments at all levels. 


In many rural areas throughout the state very few people are volunteering, leaving too few providers to respond to emergency calls. Craig Swartz is the assistant fire chief in the Saunemin Fire Protection District. He says numbers have been dwindling, and some days it’s a struggle to staff the department, especially during certain times of the year.



Because tight schedules are often a stumbling block for would-be volunteers, OSF HealthCare Saint James - John W. Albrecht Medical Center in Pontiac is working to provide training for these citizens with the help of online technology. Saint James is launching an online Emergency Medical Responder course. Emergency Medical Responders receive additional medical training beyond normal First Aid and CPR but do not engage in more complex medical procedures like those done by EMTs and Paramedics. Michael Mercer, the EMS Educator, at OSF Saint James….



The course will run from January 23 to March 14, 2020. It is designed to provide training in a way that is minimally disruptive. Students in the six-week course do a majority of their training online but have three required in-person sessions on Saturdays in Pontiac.


Registration for the Online EMR Course is now open. Call 815-842-4984 or 815-842-6821 for more information.

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