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Ill. fire apparatus get new ‘paramedics’ sign

While it is commonly known that firefighters have always been first-aid trained, not everyone knows that the firefighters and paramedics do double duty

By Bartlett Fire Protection District
The Chicago Daily Herald

BARTLETT, Ill. — The Bartlett Fire Protection District is placing new signs on its fire engines and ladder truck that say “Paramedics,” indicating that these emergency response vehicles have “Advanced Life Support” capabilities.

These vehicles have the obvious fire suppression capabilities that most people are aware of, but they also have fully trained paramedics and the paramedic equipment. The personnel and equipment strategy has been in place in Bartlett since 2003 and is considered a best practice in the fire service industry.

“We have noticed that many of our residents were not aware that our fire apparatus was staffed and equipped with paramedic personnel and equipment, which is why we are placing the signs on the fire vehicles,” said Fire Chief Michael Falese."It’s very important to know that advanced medical care begins when the first unit arrives; even if it’s not an ambulance.”

While it is commonly known that firefighters have always been first-aid trained, not everyone knows that firefighters and paramedics in Bartlett are trained and expected to do double duty.

All of ourfirefighter/paramedics can perform all of the Advanced Life Support (ALS) skills, such as sophisticated patient assessment, starting IV’s, administering medications, cardiac defibrillation, and insertion of endotracheal tubes (breathing tube inserted in lungs). These firefighter/paramedics even perform needle chest decompression and other aggressive patient treatments.

The fire district’s vehicle response plan is designed to get its’ first vehicle on the scene of an incident within six minutes. Fire and medical emergencies will have different vehicles respond, depending on the location and the type of incident.

However, whether that first vehicle is a fire engine, ladder truck or ambulance; the same level of medical care and treatment will begin without delay. The only thing the fire engine and ladder truck cannot do is transport the patient. On average, the second vehicle will arrive within 90 seconds of the first.

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