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History of Western EMS

The Western Illinois University Association of EMT’s was founded in the early 1970’s to provide training assistance and support to the Health Sciences Department’s EMT training program.  The membership occasionally provided EMT’s to work Bureau of Cultural Affairs (BCA) presentations.

When operating in this capacity, the EMT’s who worked were known as the Western Medics.  The Western Medics, operating without any written authorization, institutional or operational standards, were officially disbanded in October of 1992.

In the fall of 1992, the EMT Association underwent a six-month period of restructuring.  New standards and goals were written, as were the organization’s structural guidelines.  During that period, the group’s advisor, Heather Platt, drafted a proposal for a non-transport, Basic Life Support (BLS) Service.  The proposal was submitted to the University in February of 1993, and she was given permission to proceed with the project.

Platt and the remaining members of the Western Medics began to further outline the program guidelines.  The problem of finding an appropriate home for Western EMS was solved when Platt approached the Director of Public Safety, Joe Sylvester, with the proposal.  When the meeting concluded the first tentative co-agreement between the EMT Association and the Technical Assistance Support Corps was reached.

Sergeant Robert Baxter was assigned to become the first liaison between the two agencies.  A formal agreement outlining the relationship between TASC and the EMT Association was presented to the members for a vote.  The members were unanimously in favor of the agreement, and Western EMS was born on April 19, 1993.