Lime Springs needs First Responders

Last week, the scanner went off and Lime Springs First Responders were called out. About half an hour later, they were called to a different home. A while later they were called a second time to the second home.

Luckily, the second call was not life-threatening but it was a wake-up call. Where were the First Responders (now called Emergency Medical Responders or EMRs)? Well, sad as it is, there are only a few registered EMRs in the Lime Springs area and many of those live and work out of town. They were not around to take the call.

For a community that is known for stepping up and taking care of things when needed, it is lacking when it comes to physically being there for its residents.

But, Lime Springs is not alone. According to vice-president of Howard County Emergency Medical Services Association Holly Rasmusson, all the towns in the county are struggling for volunteers. “Everybody has to work and has their own lives. Cresco has the most volunteers, but most of them work out of town.”

There is a way to rectify this problem and that is signing up for classes. And they are going to be much more convenient than they have been in the past.

According to coordinator Kristi Brockway at NICC-Calmar, the local community college is revamping the curriculum. The course is about 60 hours. Before, that was all taken at a facility, many times in Calmar or Decorah. “Starting this spring, we will go online. The online lectures will have videos, chats and group discussions.” That will take up about 40 hours.

Twenty hours of skills verifications will also be needed, but they will be held in a centralized location. At least 10 people are needed for the class; if the majority of those are from Lime Springs, it is possible the class would be held in town.

Brockway said, “We are finding that communities are having a difficult time finding 10 people to participate.” She is hoping that by having two-thirds of the course on-line it will entice more people to join. The next class will take place in early spring.

Classes and certification currently cost around $450, but the cost could go down since it would be online and not face-to-face with an instructor the entire time. Besides, Rasmusson said there are grants available to cover the cost of the class when passed. And . . . don’t forget how Lime Springs always steps up to help out. It is probable funds could be raised to pay for those who pass the class.

If the 60-hour EMR class is daunting, perhaps you would be interested in attending a six-hour CPR/First Aid class. This requires between six and nine participants and may give you the skills you are seeking for your family, friends and neighbors.

Anyone interested in either class can call the Lime Springs Herald at 563-566-2687 or Brockway at 800-728-2256, ext. 225.

Who would be good candidates for the class? Anyone who lives or works in Lime Springs, babysitters, parents, grandparents and neighbors may want to learn the basics of first aid. Small town neighborliness is a big reason people move to rural America. Knowing there are a number of Emergency Medical Responders in town may be the deciding factor in moving to Lime Springs.

Are you looking to help your community? Want to make a difference when a disaster strikes – be it a car accident or heart attack or diabetic emergency? Want to be able to handle emergencies calmly and confidently? Be ready for when your friends or family get sick or injured? Call the Herald or NICC to help.

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