Sheboygan County Needs Public Input as New EMS Plan is Developed

From WHBL website, article written by By Kevin Zimmermann, Jul 9, 2024 | 6:23 AM:

Conflicting trends have created a problem, and Sheboygan County is asking for its residents to contribute ideas to its solution.  The problem: growing needs for Fire and EMS services on one hand, and declining numbers of agencies and volunteers to satisfy the demand on the other.

The tipping point came when Town of Sheboygan officials said that new, major developments there would strain their ability to respond to emergencies, but the situation hadn’t been entirely off-the-radar in the first place.  Sheboygan County’s Director of Emergency Management, Steve Steinhardt, said that groups of county leaders had seen the need for a new approach as long as 20 years ago, but several attempts to coordinate the many Fire and EMS responders in the County came up empty.

Fast forward to today, when Steinhardt said that within the past fifteen years, two ambulance services have closed; Batavia Fire Department closed due to staffing problems and Franklin Fire Department disbanded for lack of a Chief.  Along with the new growth in the County, Steinhardt said the Heads of Government and Chiefs agreed it was time for a formal study, and it was decided to contract with McMahon Engineers and Architects of Neenah which has done studies for other Wisconsin counties.

Robert Whitaker, Public Safety Specialist with McMahon, said that the survivability and sustainability of Emergency Services is becoming a challenge, prompting consideration of either partnering or combining services between agencies, and he said that’s a big choice that requires public input.

A 12-question survey to gather public opinion has been developed by McMahon and is now available for response.  Whitaker said they’re hoping for at least several hundred responses in order to gauge the will of the people from across all of Sheboygan County.  The results will be used in developing a new proposal, likely ready for presentation to County government sometime this fall, that can be followed to ensure the safety and protection of people regardless of where, in the County, they live.

You can access the survey here.