Emergency Medical Services (EMS)

Coverage / Service Area

The Red Wing Fire Department provides advanced life support ambulance services for 262 square miles. The department's service area ranges from the Prairie Island Community to surrounding townships. This includes portions of Pierce County, Wisconsin that border the Mississippi River. 

The population of the service area is estimated at 23,000 people. There are 24 firefighters that operate the municipal ambulance service. Last year, paramedics answered 2,504 medical calls.

EMS History

The Red Wing Fire Department began offering emergency medical transports in May of 1907. The first motorized ambulance was added to the station in the 1920s. Firefighter Steve Rosner was assigned as the first ambulance driver.

Pre-Hospital Patient Care

Pre-hospital patient care was minimal. Until the 1960s, the ambulance drivers worked alone, receiving help from police officers with loading patients. Most often, the patient rode in the back without an attendant. Ambulance drivers were trained only in basic first aid.

Equipment was limited to oxygen, bandages and wooden splints. Patient care was secondary to a rapid transport to the hospital.


In 1976, the Fire Department trained most of the firefighters to the level of Emergency Medical Technician, providing them with the training and equipment to better treat patients prior to arrival in an emergency room. More personnel were assigned to the ambulance ensuring that patient care continued en route to the hospital.

Paramedic Training

In 1995, 12 firefighters were enrolled in Paramedic Training, enabling the Fire Department to offer patients the highest level of care available in the pre-hospital setting. Currently there are 25 Nationally Registered Paramedics. With advanced training in cardiac, pediatric, and traumatic emergencies, paramedics have the skills and equipment to provide patient care that was, until a few years ago, only offered in emergency rooms.

Cross Training

All of Red Wing's career firefighters are cross-trained which enables them to operate both as firefighters and ambulance personnel. Paid on call firefighters are trained to a minimum of EMR (Emergency Medical Response) with some holding EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) or paramedic certifications.

EMS Education

The following are courses and education that must be completed to become a Red Wing firefighter. 

EMS Technician/ Emergency Medical Technician:

  • Emergency Medical Responder (EMR) - 40 hours
  • Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) - 120 hours
  • Paramedic  -  1800 hours

EMS Training and Continuing Education

Red Wing EMS personnel maintain national certifications and are licensed to provide care in both Minnesota and Wisconsin. Annual training is required to maintain certification at all levels. There is a minimum of 72 hours of continuing education for paramedic and 48 hours for EMT every two years as well as practical evaluations on EMS skills by the City of Red Wing EMS Medical Director.