First Responders

How to get involved as a First Responder


Welcome to this page, exclusively designed for our current and future First Responder Partners. By now you are probably aware of our goal to provide children’s books and drawstring backpacks to every First Responder in Wisconsin. We began this journey in 2007, and we will not rest until that milestone is achieved.

Our business model is basic. We connect with First Responders and learn about their department. Specifically, we determine the number of vehicles in the department, as our goal is to place a REACH BAG (filled with books and drawstring backpacks) in each vehicle.

The First Responders use the books to comfort and distract the children they encounter, although distribution of the books in a crisis environment is not required. As you will learn, some of our First Responder partners provide them as part of their community outreach efforts.

– Curt Fuszard, Executive Director

Page Sponsor

Overview Video

Contact Us

Please contact us if: A) You would like to bring the REACH BAG program to your department B) Need Additional Books C) Have a story to share about using our program


Training Videos






I responded to a vehicle on fire on Interstate 39 northbound in the City of Madison. As I approached, I observed flames coming from underneath the vehicle and a family standing outside together. The family was unharmed and I used my extinguisher to put out the flames. The family was on their way to Wisconsin Dells for a family trip when they saw the vehicle smoking and pulled over. The children were in the back of my cruiser to stay warm as the firefighters disabled to vehicle to make it safe. I provided the four children with my Reach-A-Child bag of books and let them choose a book. The children reached for the bag and their eyes lit up. I transported them to a nearby hotel where I informed them they were able to keep the books. One of the little boys smiled, hugged the book and ran to show his mom. The other children talked excitedly about the books.” - Wisconsin State PatrolWisconsin State Patrol
Wisconsin State Patrol
I work as a police officer in the south district for the City of Madison police department. I responded to a call where the caller was having serious mental health concerns. When I arrived, I spoke with the woman, who was later admitted to the hospital for her mental health concerns. Right when I got there, I noticed the woman had her 11 year old daughter with her. The daughter was very afraid, probably due to her mother’s behavior as well as the police coming to the scene. I was able to talk to the girl briefly and then said I was going to be right back. The girl had begun crying from her fear. I went and retrieved the REACH-A-Child™ backpack from my squad. I selected a chapter book and provided the girl with one of the backpacks in the bag. I gave both of these to the girl, who stopped crying and began talking to me about the book as well as how well she was doing in school. The woman and her child had been living in a motel and had no personal belongings with them. When I told the girl she could keep both the book and the backpack, I could tell she was very grateful to have something which she could possess again. As the girl was picked up by a family member, she showed off the backpack and book, proud to have something to bring along. The REACH-A-Child™ program is such a wonderful tool to have, especially in times of crisis for children! Thank you so much! We are grateful to have the REACH-A-Child™ backpacks and books available! Officer Amelia Levett, Madison Police Department South DistrictOfficer Amelia Levett
Officer Amelia Levett
“On behalf of the City of Madison Police Department, I want to thank the “REACH-A-Child” organization for your continued support. The backpacks and books available to children we encounter as first responders goes a long way to creating space from turmoil and fostering an opportunity for hope and help. With books, our officers can begin to build rapport and trust and kids can start to feel better about themselves or their situation.”Chief Michael Koval
Chief Michael KovalMadison Police Department
Our department responded to a house fire in the Town of Montello this morning. Upon arrival fire was showing from the back of the home. All of the residents were out of the home and standing watching as their home burned. The home received extensive damage and is unlivable. The home was occupied by a husband and wife and their 5 children ranging in age from 20yrs-3yrs. I arrived on scene and spoke with the officers and firemen on scene. We then used your program and began to give the books away. One of the girls noticed a “Charlottes Web” book and stated she would like to have it as the one she had just burned in the fire. I didn’t have the heart to restrict the number of books so I gave them the entire bag. The family was very thankful. The American Red Cross is attending to their needs and they will be housed in a hotel/motel temporarily until they can arrange long term housing. Thanks again for supplying the book. I think it is making a impact in the emotional issues that victims go through.Sheriff Kim V. Gaffney
Sheriff Kim V. GaffneyMarquette County Sheriff’s Department

Departments partnering with REACH-A-Child

  • Adams County Sheriff    (12)
  • Appleton Police, Fire, and EMS  (70)
  • Argyle Police, Fire, and EMS    (4)
  • Baraboo Police, Fire, and EMS   (25)
  • Belleville Police and EMS   (3)
  • Brown County Sheriff  (9)
  • Cambridge Fire & EMS (8)
  • Children’s Advocacy Center-Eau Claire   (7)
  • Columbia County Sheriff  (20)
  • Cottage Grove Fire    (7)
  • Cross Plains Police  (3)
  • Cuba City Police  (4)
  • Dane County Sheriff  (30)
  • Deerfield Fire (8)
  • Deergrove EMS
  • Deforest Police, Fire, and EMS  (9)
  • Delavan Police   (4)
  • Eau Claire Police
  • Fall River Police  (2)
  • Fitchburg Police and Fire   (20)
  • Fitch-Rona EMS   (5)
  • Green Bay Police (30)
  • Green County EMS  (6)
  • Hewitt Fire   (1)
  • Janesville Police, Fire, and EMS    (37)
  • Jackson Police and Fire (12)
  • Johnson Creek Police, Fire, and EMS   (12)
  • Keewaunee County Sheriff   (20)
  • Kilbourn Fire and EMS  (7)
  • Lafayette County Sheriff   (24)
  • Lake Delton Police and Fire  (2) (Partial)
  • Lake Mills Police, Fire, and EMS (14)
  • Little Chute Fire  (3)
  • Lodi Police Department  (4)
  • Madison Police and Fire  (111)
  • Manitowoc County Sheriff (15)
  • Manitowoc Police (13)
  • Marquette County Sheriff  (16)
  • Mauston EMS  (3)
  • Marshfield Fire and EMS (4)
  • McFarland Police, Fire, and EMS   (12)
  • Medford Police, Fire, and EMS  (8)
  • Mequon Police  (13)
  • Middleton Police, Fire, and EMS (21)
  • Milwaukee County Sheriff  (125)
  • Milwaukee Police   (1) (Partial)
  • Milton Fire (3)
  • Monroe Police and Fire  (16)
  • Monticello Police and Fire (10)
  • Mount Horeb Fire  (1)  (Partial)
  • New Glarus Police, Fire, and EMS (12)
  • Newton Fire (2)
  • Nunda Fire (5)
  • Oregon Fire and EMS   (5)
  • Oshkosh Police and Fire  (34)
  • Osseo Police  (2)
  • Platteville Police  (6)
  • Prairie Du Sac Fire  (1)
  • Poynette Police  (6)

*All REACH BAGs comfort 20 children-in-crisis.

  • Richland Center Police (4)
  • Rio Police Department  (2)
  • Riverside Fire   (6)
  • Rosendale Fire   (3)
  • Ryan Brothers Ambulance  (2)
  • Sauk City Fire  (6)
  • Sauk County Sheriff  (25)
  • Sauk Prairie Police  (5)
  • Shorewood Hills Police  (3)
  • Silver Creek Fire (2)
  • Slinger Police  (6)
  • Southwest Health Center EMS  (3)
  • Sun Prairie Police, Fire, and EMS  (24)
  • Taylor County Sheriff  (18)
  • Town of Madison Police  (9)
  • Town of Sheboygan Fire (8)
  • Trempealeau County Sheriff  (24)
  • UW Madison Police Department  (20)
  • Verona Police  (10)
  • Village of Howard Fire  (5)
  • Village of Howard Police (6)
  • Waukesha Police (14)
  • Waunakee Police, Fire, and EMS  (28)
  • Wauwatosa Police and Fire (12)
  • WGEMA Campus Police (2)
  • Whitewater Police, Fire, and EMS   (16)
  • Winnebago County Sheriff  (24)
  • Wisconsin Dells Police  (6)
  • Wisconsin State Patrol – All Regions  (408)

Photos of our First Responders