Even when they’ve off-duty, firefighters and paramedics never hesitate to save a life if they observe someone in dire straits.
They’re trained to do it.
So when Kenosha Fire Department veteran Scott Carter, who’s been with KFD for 22 years now, was on a trip to St. Louis in March 2016 and observed a 5-year-old boy drowning in the hotel pool, he sprang right into action and saved the boy by administering CPR.
But had Carter not fortuitously been on the scene as an off-duty firefighter, would this boy’s life have been saved? Would anyone there have known how to administer CPR or use an AED (automated external defibrillator) device to get his heart beating again if necessary?
Those very concerning questions got Carter to thinking: How could he train others to administer the life-saving techniques that he and other firefighters had learned for their careers? What if Carter hadn’t been at the hotel pool that day? Why couldn’t anyone – not just firefighters or paramedics – be trained to administer life-saving techniques in case of emergency?
Well, these concerns gave birth to a business idea for Carter, and today business is booming. Carter founded Urban Rescue Solutions in 2017, a business that employs firefighters who offer CPR and AED training classes to other businesses and private citizens. Urban Rescue Solutions also sells AEDs and AED accessories.
And now, through Kenosha County Health, Urban Rescue Solutions is helping to administer another crucial life-saving measure throughout the community, Narcan, the nasal spray that reverses the effects of an opioid overdose and has saved countless lives.
The Health Department received a four-year grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) for Narcan training and distribution and hooked up with Carter and Urban Rescue Solutions to help out. Through this partnership, Urban Rescue Solutions will offer free Narcan training and provide free Narcan in Kenosha County.
To mark the partnership with Kenosha County Health in providing Narcan and Narcan training, and to celebrate the overall success and growth of Urban Rescue Solutions, the Kenosha Area Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for Carter’s business last week Thursday (Sept. 28) at Jockey headquarters in Kenosha. Urban Rescue Solutions provided CPR training to Jockey employees that day, as well.
For his admirable efforts in helping to save lives through Urban Rescue Solutions, Scott Carter – who lives in Kenosha with his wife, Kristy, and their five children – has been named this week’s Kenosha.com Kenoshan of the Week.
“The Health Department joining in is really good, and it makes me feel like I’m serving a higher purpose,” Carter said on Thursday, right after the ribbon cutting. “This isn’t just about making money.
“This is about doing what’s right for the community.”
He was hired by the Kenosha Fire Department, and his first day was Sept. 4, 2001, a week before the world changed forever, especially for firefighters.
“My first day was Sept. 4, 2001, and we watched the towers come down on TV while we were in training,” Carter recalled.
While working for KFD as his “regular” job, Carter began to make connections in the CPR and AED business in 2012 while selling AEDs and cardiac monitors to other fire departments through Philips Healthcare, based in the Chicago area. With that job, Carter covered a five-state area.
After his life-saving CPR incident in 2016, Carter really got the inspiration to start his own business. Thus was born Urban Rescue Solutions in 2017.
“I started coming up with the idea to start this business, and (this) was kind of like the deciding factor: ‘I need to teach CPR, and I need to sell AEDs as part of the business,’” Carter said. “And that just kind of formed the whole thing.”
And while selling AEDs came pretty naturally to Carter already, he began to realize that CPR training was really the way to grow his business.
“When I turned it around and flipped it and made it more about CPR … the business really took off,” Carter said.
Urban Rescue Solutions was also boosted in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Carter says. After companies had to conduct things like safety training and CPR classes online, they found that it wasn’t nearly as effective as the in-person services offered by Carter’s business.
“A lot of companies were like, ‘Hey, we did the online (training). We want to get back to in-person, because online was not good,’” Carter said. “So I’m seeing a boom in business right now, because a lot of companies are like, ‘Hey, we want in-person.’”
With the recent boom in business, Urban Rescue Solutions now employs eight instructors, all firefighters like Carter. And this a key component of Urban Rescue Solutions: Who better to teach saving lives than professional life-savers?
“That’s a lot of what my business model is based on, hiring people that do this for a living,” Carter said. “Because anybody could be a CPR instructor by taking a course. But that doesn’t mean they’re good at it.
“What makes us good at it is we do it in real life, on real people, and then we share our experiences with our students.”
Urban Rescue Solutions now has a collaboration with the Kenosha Area Business Alliance, which has obviously helped Carter’s growth immensely. But Urban Rescue Solutions doesn’t just serve Kenosha County. Carter says his instructors will go to other locations in the region, such as the Madison area, Lake County (Ill.) and north of Milwaukee to Sheboygan.
With more employees now, Carter can better serve the needs of businesses seeking the services of Urban Rescue Solutions.
“Now I’m going to have more options for them to get what they want,” Carter said. “So it’s really about treating the customer better, getting them what they want. I want to be convenient for them.”
And the feedback is starting to roll in, too.
Carter recalled a woman who worked as a daycare director in Racine and had received instructions from Urban Rescue Solutions. This allowed the woman to recognize someone that was having a stroke.
“Literally, like two weeks after this class, the lady calls me up and says, ‘Thank God you taught me how to recognize a stroke,’” Carter said. “… She noticed that a lady had facial droop on one side of her face and didn’t look like she normally did. She started asking her questions and stuff and then realized she was confused, so she called 911, and (it) turns out the lady was having a stroke. An ambulance came, they took her.
“I just talked to her (the lady who called 911) a couple days ago, actually, because I did another class, and I had told her that I always bring this up in my training. She’s like, ‘Yeah, that really happened.’”
Additionally, Carter also wanted to stress how important it is for businesses and any public location to possess and properly maintain AEDs. Carter says that, according to the Centers for Disease Control, 356,000 people per year go into cardiac arrest, of which 60 to 90 percent “don’t make it.”
So having an AED and implementing the life-saving techniques taught by Urban Rescue Solutions can be crucial to saving lives.
“I think that having an AED is super important,” Carter said. “If somebody is in what we call a shockable rhythm – so like a kid, for example, that goes unconscious because of an airway obstruction – they’re almost always in something called ventricular fibrillation. And that means that they have to have a shock to get their heartbeat back. So a shock from an AED. I preach the importance of having an AED as much as possible, because I believe that having more of them in the community is important.
“… For every minute that goes by that CPR is not being done, your chance of survival goes down by 10 percent. So having an AED, it makes it even that more successful.”
And now, by partnering with Kenosha County Health to offer free Narcan and Narcan training (it should be noted that this service is for Kenosha County only), Urban Rescue Solutions is helping to save even more lives.
“Our team has been doing Narcan training for anyone who’s interested,” Kenosha County Health Population Manager/Public Information Officer Liane Blanck said at Thursday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony. “So private businesses and schools, firefighters, police departments, just the general public. We’ve been at events and throughout the community for the past couple of years.
“… We’re really excited to partner with the Fire Department.”
Busy family life
Of course, in addition to the first priority of saving lives and helping his community, there is an obvious practical side to Carter growing his business.
He and Kristy – a nurse educated at Marquette University – have four daughters: Lauren, a nursing student at UW-Parkside; Kaylee, a Marquette freshman studying to be a physician assistant; Kalyssa, a sophomore at Shoreland Lutheran High School; and Addison, a seventh-grader at Kenosha Lutheran Academy; and a son, Noah, a freshman at Shoreland.
Kalyssa is a soccer standout who’s already receiving interest from NCAA Division I programs. She and Kaylee teamed up to form a dynamic duo for the Shoreland girls soccer team last spring and were featured by Kenosha.com. Read that story HERE.
Needless to say, Scott and Kristy have a few expenses to account for. They also like to take a family spring break trip each year, to Disney World or, last year, to Mexico.
“We spend a lot of time with the family,” Scott said. “They’re just so busy. I do this business to help support how busy we are, so we can do all the things we want to do, and I can support my kids in college and stuff.
“We like to travel a lot. As a family, that’s like our big thing.”
While helping with family expenses is obviously a nice benefit for Scott Carter in starting and growing Urban Rescue Solutions, the main reason for his efforts, of course, is to save lives and serve the community.
That’s what made Thursday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony at Jockey so gratifying, because it signified that Carter is accomplishing those goals, and then some.
“That’s the best part of being a firefighter, to be honest with you,” he said. “Then I take this into my personal life now. I am making a living doing it, but more rewarding than the money is knowing that I’m making an impact.
“My family’s proud of me, I know they are. My wife’s here right now. And she is the reason for me being able to do this.”
To contact Urban Rescue Solutions, visit urbanrescuesolutions.com or call 262-203-9815.