New Fire Trucks Advertise Paramedic Abilities
A newly added “Paramedic” sign can be seen recently on a Bartlett fire engine. The Bartlett Fire Protection District added the signs to let residents know all of its vehicles are staffed with paramedics. | Submitted photo
Chicago Sun-Times via YellowBrix
June 13, 2011
BARTLETT, IL — The Bartlett Fire Protection District is placing new signs on ITS fire engines and ladder truck that say “Paramedics,” indicating that even these vehicles designed for firefighting now carry advanced life support capabilities.
Fire Chief Michael Falese said these vehicles have the obvious fire suppression capabilities that most people are aware of, but they also have carried fully trained paramedics and their paramedic equipment since 2003.
“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,” Falese said. “It’s very important to know that advanced medical care begins when the first unit arrives, even if it’s not an ambulance.”
He said that while it is commonly known that firefighters have always been trained in first aid, not everyone knows that firefighters and paramedics in Bartlett are trained and expected to do double duty. All the firefighter/paramedics can perform all of the Advanced Life Support (ALS) skills, such as sophisticated patient assessment, starting IVs, administering medications, cardiac defibrillation and inserting endotracheal tubes (breathing tubes inserted into the 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 type of incident. However, whether that first vehicle is a fire engine, a ladder truck or an ambulance, the same level of medical care and treatment will begin without delay, Falese said. The only thing the fire engine and ladder truck cannot do is to transport the patient.
On average, the second vehicle will arrive within 90 seconds of the first, Falese said.