By Patrick Lynn
An open house scheduled for Aug. 11 at the Plover Fire Department has been canceled due to COVID-19.
It was the second of three EMS open-houses organized by the Portage Co. Sheriff’s Office in 2020. The three events, held at Stevens Point, Plover, and Amherst fire stations, were designed to help the public better understand the function of the county’s Emergency Medical Services system.
The first open house, scheduled for April at Amherst Fire Department, was also canceled due to the coronavirus.
Sheriff Mike Lukas said via email there are currently no plans to reschedule either event.
While overseen by the county, the Portage Co. EMS system operates from several locations, including the main provider hubs of Stevens Point, Plover, and Amherst fire departments. Most firefighters in Portage Co. are certified emergency medical providers, ranging in their training from basic EMT status to a paramedic.
The system was previously overseen by a series of county committees, which County Board Chairman Al Haga and Sheriff Mike Lukas argued were overly redundant. Lukas recommended disbanding the EMS oversight committee, and the county board agreed, approving the dissolution last October.
In the committee’s place, Lukas organized the open houses to take feedback from the public and EMS providers, answer citizen’s questions, and offer an open forum for ideas.
“The public, along with providers and emergency medical responders, is always encouraged to contact county EMS with solutions or problems, so they can be addressed promptly,” Lukas said. Relevant items could be placed on a meeting agenda of the Portage Co. Public Safety/Emergency Management Committee for consideration, he said.
Lukas said he expects the open houses to be “less time-consuming and more productive” than a formal committee.
Firefighters, emergency medical responders, and county representatives will be on hand at each event, along with station tours, and EMS equipment displays.
The next Portage County EMS Open House/Forum is scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 9, from 5-8 p.m. at the Stevens Point Fire Department, 1701 Franklin St.