What is now Lancaster EMS started in February 1944, as the Lancaster Rescue Squad.
What is now Lancaster EMS started in February 1944, as the Lancaster Rescue Squad. Lancaster Rescue Squad started with just five men who were members of the Lancaster Fire Department. Those pioneers in Emergency Medical Services were: Louis Belscamper, Reuben Garner, Harry Tucker, John Turner and Laverne “Spot” Wayne. The first chief of Lancaster Rescue Squad was John Turner who held that position until his death in 1963.
Over the years Lancaster Rescue Squad has had many different ambulances. The first ambulance was a surplus war ambulance, purchased at the cost of $400, thanks to the city receiving a forty percent discount. The only equipment initially carried on the ambulance was a rescuscitator. A few years later, the first ambulance was replaced by a converted 1939 Buick sedan. Over the course of the following years a 1949 Buick Roadmaster, followed by a 1957 station wagon also served as ambulances in our early years. A 1964 Cadillac station wagon was then purchased to serve as the newest ambulance. The newest ambulance was equipped with a radio, lights and siren all paid for by then Sheriff Al Klaas. Since then many more ambulances have followed. Currently Lancaster EMS has three ambulances in its fleet. Our primary 9-1-1 ambulances are 251 (a 2009 International/Horton) and 250 (a 2006 Ford/Horton), and our transfer and standby ambulance 252 is a 1999 Ford/Medtec.
During the early years, the ambulance was housed in the same building as the fire department (now Lancaster Police Department). Joe Turner then allowed the ambulance to be housed in his car dealership garage. In 1976, the city built well house #2 on East Cherry Street across form City Hall and this building housed two ambulances until the new Lancaster Fire/Rescue building located at the intersection of North Washington and West Elm Streets was completed in 1996. The Lancaster Fire/Rescue building houses our ambulances, all necessary equipment, and serves as our office and training center.
The equipment carried on today's ambulances is much different than the first ambulance.
The equipment carried on today’s ambulances is much different than the first ambulance. The first ambulance carried a resuscitator and that was the only piece of equipment. Today our ambulances carry defibrillators, blood pressure machines, wheeled ambulance cots, glucometers, oxygen systems, and many more pieces of vital life-saving equipment. in the early years, Lancaster Rescue Squad was the only ambulance service in Grant County. Lancaster Rescue Squad covered a service area that included Bloomington, Cassville, Glen Haven, Mount Hope, Livingston and Fennimore in addition to Lancaster. All one needed to do when they needed an ambulance was to call the operator. The operator would then start down the list of members of the ambulance service until she had reached enough to take the call.
Lancaster EMS now provides services to those citizens in the City of Lancaster, and to all or part of the following townships: North Lancaster, South Lancaster, Beetown, Little Grant, Ellenboro and Liberty. It is not a whole lot different to get an ambulance now, but instead of calling the operator, you call 911. When you call 911 a dispatcher at the Grant County Communications Center will answer your call and will page our on-call ambulance crew to alert them of the call. An on-call crew of volunteers is scheduled 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
On December 4, 1964, Lancaster Rescue Squad, Inc was created as a Wisconsin Corporation Without Stock and Not for Profit. In June of 2006, the name of our service and corporation changed from Lancaster Rescue Squad, Inc. to Lancaster EMS, Inc. Our purpose has not changed since the formation of our service though, and that is to provide gratuitous emergency ambulance and first aid service to the citizens of Lancaster, Wisconsin and its surrounding area.
Lancaster EMS is a not for profit corporation, and we receive no taxpayer funding. Lancaster EMS is a self-sustaining entity. We charge for our services rendered and rely on this income and donations to be able to provide the necessary equipment and supplies needed for caring for the patients and protecting our staff.
In 2017, Lancaster EMS saw the need to consider a full-time EMS Director/Chief.
In 2017, Lancaster EMS saw the need to consider a full-time EMS Director/Chief. This was due to the increase of calls for service, increase in administrative duties, and increase in training requirements. The LEMS Board started the process of informing and working with the City of Lancaster and the surrounding townships of North Lancaster, South Lancaster, Liberty, Ellenboro, Little Grant, and Beetown to come up with a plan of financing such a position. After 2 years of collaboration with all entities, a financial plan, service contracts, and job description were developed and adopted. The Lancaster EMS Director is hired through the City of Lancaster and then contracted to Lancaster EMS. In 2019, the position was posted and interviews were held. In November 2019, Jeff Boughton was hired as the first EMS Director/Chief for Lancaster EMS.
During our 78 year history, our organization has only had eleven chiefs. Those chiefs are: John Turner, Louis Belscamper, Laverne “Shot” Doll, Bob Bowen, Tom Zenz, Dennis Addison, Rob Little, Mark Bartels, Brian Allen, Jackie Edge, and Jeff Boughton.
In 2021 Lancaster EMS petitioned the Wisconsin Department of Health to change our staffing level to a “flex staffing” model. This became an option after legislation would allow for this type of staffing. This “flex staffing” would allow Lancaster EMS to use paramedics that volunteered with Lancaster EMS to deliver advanced level patient care to their level of licensure. Through nurse equivalency applications submitted to the Wisconsin Division of Health, Lancaster EMS was able to add 14 nurses to our roster to help expedite ALS transfers from our local smaller hospitals to the larger more specialized health care facilities.