In the fall of 1984, a group of 16 people from the towns of Calmar, Fort Atkinson and Spillville got together to take a class called First Responder. Over the past 18 years active membership has stayed around 15 volunteers, consisting of certified First Responders, Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) and Paramedics, responding to any trauma or medical emergency day or night.
These people had started out with basic medical first aid kits and have over the years not only maintained these kits, but have expanded three main kits with oxygen, automatic external defibrillators (AED), combitubes (for airways), suction equipment and 2-way radios in the towns of Calmar, Fort Atkinson and Spillville. Many hours go into initial training of emergency medical responders, along with the continuing education that needs to be maintained every two years. Monthly meetings are also held alternating among the three towns. Skills are reviewed and practiced.
The funding for this is provided through the generosity of donations from the communities and some limited funding from the Iowa Dept. of Health and the State Bureau of EMS. The community has been completely supportive over the years both financially and spiritually and for that the volunteers are very thankful.
South Winneshiek Area First Responders are only one link in the emergency response system collaborating with the dispatch center, law enforcement, fire departments, and ambulance services.
The South Winn First Responders respond out of the Calmar Fire Station and are dispatched through Winneshiek County 911 services.