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Sleepy Eye holds an emergency drill

Staff photo by Fritz Busch Sleepy Eye Ambulance Coordinator and Emergency Manager Shari Hittesdorf, center, directs firefighters during an emergency drill at Prairieview Park.

SLEEPY EYE — After a couple years without doing an emergency drill due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Sleepy Eye Ambulance Coordinator and Emergency Manager Shari Hittesdorf was back in her wheelhouse Wednesday night.

Hittesdorf was directing firefighters, emergency medical services, Sleepy Eye Medical Center staff and police during a mock anhydrous ammonia leak at Prairieview Park.

After a radio call, the Sleepy Eye Fire Department responded to the park with several fire trucks and crews wearing breathing apparatus in the southwest corner of town where a smoke-machine was operating next to an anhydrous tank attached to a pickup truck.

Soon after that, Emergency Medical Services arrived and donned hazmat suits (personal protective equipment including impermeable, whole-body garments worn as protection against hazardous materials.

An EMT (emergency medical technician) for more than three decades and ambulance coordinator for nearly that long, Hittesdorf has taught CPR and first aid classes to students and health care providers for just about that long too.

Hittesdorf said she’s looking for more people to volunteer to become EMTs.

“We need them big time. We also need more firefighters and health care workers too,” she said during the emergency drill.

Hittesdorf isn’t the only veteran employee on the Sleepy Eye Ambulance Crew. Sleepy Eye High School teacher Gloria Nachreiner, who recently retired from teaching, is still on the ambulance crew.

“Just for the record, she’s only retiring from teaching. We still get to keep her on our ambulance crew,” Hittesdorf posted on Facebook.

If interested in joining the Sleepy Eye Ambulance crew or taking first aid or CPR classes, call Hittesdorf at the Sleepy Eye City Ambulance office or visit her there. She’ll be happy to tell you all about it.

Fritz Busch can be emailed at fbusch@nujournal.com.

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