for over 30 years
July 1983 became the start of the Brice Prairie First Responders. Ron and Linda Kane posted a sign-up sheet for interested citizens at their Prairie Market. Ron was trained as a first responder with the Holmen Area Fire Department, and began promoting the idea on the Prairie with Steve Hammes.
In the beginning there were 24 members, capable of handling all types of calls using the Brice Prairie First Responder Unit. Ten of those members were woman, which is not uncommon in areas where first responder units are not affiliated with fire departments.
The territory for the First Responders include all of Brice Prairie, and is bordered by the railroad tracks on the east. Those tracks are a prime concern for Prairie First Responders. According to the organization’s Vice President, Diane Langve, “If there’s a train on the tracks, Tri-State Ambulance can’t get through.”
Town & Country Courier -July 17, 1984
TODAY, over 30 years later, the Brice Prairie First Responders are still going strong. Brice Prairie continues to grow, and the First Responders have continued to keep up with the newest technologies and continued training to serve their community. In addition to Brice Prairie proper, the Brice Prairie First Responders cover a large portion of Lake Onalaska, and the Great River State Bike Trail.
All members have completed at least the WI Medical First Responder- Advanced Skills Course, some have continued their education to include EMT certification, 1 member is a Paramedic, and we have 1 Registered Nurse. Two members are Certified Ice Rescue Specialists and certified trainers in the White Bear Rescue Training Center Practical Ice Rescue course, and all active members are Ice Rescue Technicians. Many members also have water rescue training, and a few have participated in woods rescue training with Tri-State Ambulance and the West Salem First Responders. Three members are certified WI Entry Level Firefighters, and one completed a spill response program put on by the Coast Guard, WI, IA, & MN DNRs, EPA, and Industry. In 2010, 8 members attended training with the La Crosse Fire Department and Amtrak, covering safety and techniques for responding to emergencies involving, or adjacent to railways. Members are also received trained in hazards associated with vehicle collisions, low angle rope rescue, and more.