Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley Recognizes 50 Years of Emergency Medical Services in Milwaukee County
MILWAUKEE, WI – On Wednesday, November 8, Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley was joined by leaders from the Milwaukee County Office of Emergency Management (OEM), Milwaukee County fire departments, and the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) to recognize 50 years of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) in Milwaukee County.
In November 1973, the West Allis Fire Department’s MED 1 went into service as the first paramedic unit in Southeastern Wisconsin, bringing the emergency department into the field for the first time in Milwaukee County. Dr. Joe Darin of the Medical College of Wisconsin brought this vision to life, drastically improving prehospital emergency care and serving as the first medical director of Milwaukee County EMS.
In the subsequent 50 years, there have only been three additional medical directors: Dr. Ron Pirrallo, Dr. Riccardo Colella, and the current medical director, Dr. Ben Weston. Under these leaders, Milwaukee County EMS has continued to provide care with an emphasis on equity, compassion, and innovation, shaping the future of emergency medical services and saving countless lives in Milwaukee County.
Most importantly, Milwaukee County EMS developed a unique system that brings together 14 different fire departments under a single medical direction authority through the Office of Emergency Management and the Medical College of Wisconsin, representing nearly 1,400 EMS providers responsible for responding to over 112,000 calls. This system ensures everyone throughout Milwaukee County receives consistent, high-quality care.
“Positive health outcomes depend not only on the efforts of first responders but also on the collaboration with healthcare systems and other medical professionals,” said Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley. “It is because of these successful partnerships that Milwaukee County residents can rest assured, knowing they’re in good hands during an emergency. I remain inspired by the continued dedication of all EMS workers throughout the past 50 years and look forward to what we can collectively accomplish in the next 50 to make Milwaukee County the healthiest county in Wisconsin.”
In addition to responding to calls for service in a rapid and professional manner, Milwaukee County EMS participates in groundbreaking research efforts and prepares the community for emergencies through community-based risk reduction education.
“The collaboration between the Medical College of Wisconsin and Milwaukee County Office of Emergency Management has led to innovative advancements in research and patient care. Through their willingness to test new technologies and pilot new treatments, OEM and first responders have helped MCW improve outcomes for community members needing treatment on the front lines,” said MCW president and CEO John R. Raymond, Sr., MD. "As we celebrate this milestone anniversary, MCW looks forward to continuing this important partnership to improve the health of all in our community.”