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What is the Proposed Referendum For?

The Fire and EMS departments of Walworth, Darien and Sharon are proposing a Shared Staffing Program. This program plans for a two person fulltime paid Firefighter/EMT-Paramedic Duty Crew. This program augments our volunteers and will cover the Village and Townships of Walworth, Darien
and Sharon.

This program will upgrade our service level from EMT-Basic Level to EMT Paramedic Level and provide personnel ready to respond within seconds. The six municipalities that currently fund all three departments will share the costs of this program.

Informational Meeting Locations and Dates

  • Sharon Fire Station, Thursday, October 1 at 7pm
  • Walworth Town Hall, Saturday, October 3 at 1pm
  • Walworth Village Hall, Wednesday, October 14 at 7pm
  • Sharon Fire Station, Saturday, October 24 at 1pm
  • Darien Fire Station, Wednesday, October 28 at 7pm

What happened to our Volunteer Fire & EMS Departments?

  • Fewer people are volunteering due to increasing training requirements, increasing call volume, lack of free time,
    financial difficulty, family and employment responsibilities, among other reasons.
  • Our ranks having fallen from 45 responders in the 1980s to only 25 responders today.
  • Call volume has risen by more than 50% in the last 20 years.
  • Response times have doubled in the last 10 years.
  • In 2020, Sharon Fire & Rescue has failed to respond with sufficient staff to transport the patient 11 times, delaying
    care while waiting for service to arrive.
  • Recently, all three services had to downgrade from the Advanced EMT Level to Basic EMT Level, because we lack
    enough responders.

Did You Know?

  • Sharon and Darien stations are not staffed with responders.
    Everyone responds from home or work.
  • The majority of responders work out of town or their
    employment prevents them from responding during the day.
  • The Duty Crew will regularly respond within 90 seconds.
  • The Duty Crew often will arrive from another town before
    your local department’s volunteer responders.
  • The Duty Crew will be able to cover 85% of the Emergency
    Medical Calls in the service area.
  • The Duty Crew will be cross-trained and perform both
    Firefighting and EMS duties.


  • Why do we need this? Our Volunteer Responders have always done a great job. On a good day, we can still deliver the same service you expect. However, increasingly we do not have sufficient staff to respond to your Fire or EMS calls. If you have an emergency…what if we can’t respond?
  • Why don’t we have 24/7/365 paid staffing in our community? None of our communities can easily afford their own full-time paid staffing. Working together, we can share costs increase the service level from EMT Basic to Paramedic.
  • Why is it so expensive? We have benefited from over 100 years of extremely low-cost services thanks to very dedicated volunteers. Staffing a 24/7/365 Duty Crew actually takes six full-time personnel to cover the shifts. Sharing this service among six municipalities is the most economical way to provide improved service and ensure a reliable response.
  • Why not just call mutual aid from the next town? We have been using mutual aid on an increasing basis for decades. It has contributed to the increased call volume, thereby overburdening our Volunteer Responders, making the problem worse.

Ask Dr. MacNeal

What are the benefits of upgrading to Paramedic Level?

“Rural EMS systems often have longer transport times to the stroke, trauma, and chest pain centers. When a critical patient is encountered in the field, having Paramedic level care gives our patients additional life-saving treatments and medications during transport to the hospital.”

Dr. James J. MacNeal
Mercy Health, MD-1 Medical Director

If the Referendum Passes

  • Reliable emergency response
  • Upgraded Paramedic-Level service
  • Supporting our current volunteer responders
  • Cost-effective shared services

If the Referendum Fails

  • Possibly no response to your emergency
  • Continued loss of trained responders
  • Response times will increase
  • Increased Fire Losses
  • Lives may be lost


Questions on how this program will operate? Please contact:

Darien Fire Chief Justin Schuenke 262-745-2261
Sharon Fire Chief Bruce Vander Veen - 262-949-0079

Questions on how this will impact your property taxes?
Please contact your Municipal Office:

Village of Darien - 262-882-5055
Village of Sharon - 262-736-4888
Town of Sharon - 262-736-4608

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