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Chicago-Area Fire Department Getting New Defibrillators

CARPENTERSVILLE, Ill. -- By partnering with the fire departments in Elgin and Franklin Park, the Carpentersville Fire Department saved nearly $9,000 on new heart defibrillators that come with EKG monitors.

Besides giving an electric shock to the heart, these machines give the paramedics a "birds-eye view of what the heart is doing," Carpentersville Fire Chief John Schuldt said.

That will help paramedics notify doctors more quickly about a patient's heart before the patient even reaches the hospital.

"We can send it to the hospital, and the doctor can see exactly what the patient is doing," Schuldt said. "What the hospital uses in the hospital and the emergency room and the operating room, we are now bringing out to the field."

Carpentersville bought three of the machines at a total cost of $72,440.95, and they are scheduled to arrive in about a month, Schuldt said.

The cost savings was the result of a volume discount — thanks to the partnership with Elgin and Franklin Park.

Elgin ordered five of the same machines and two already are in service, Elgin Fire Chief John Fahy said.

They give a clearer image of heart activity, electronic reads of possible heart problems — the old ones were read manually — and detail the blood pressure and oxygen saturation levels.

The machines also let paramedics create electronic reports, Fahy said, whereas with the older machines they had to write their reports, Fahy said.

The machines also help paramedics quickly identify the problem and begin treatment on the scene before taking a patient to the hospital, Fahy said.

"We're in the business of delivering medical service to your house; a lot of times people think we're in the business of transporting you to the hospital," Fahy said.

"If we can respond in four minutes or five minutes, begin that treatment in the house ... the outcomes are much, much better."

Carpentersville's machines will replace three others that are 10 years old and inside three ambulances.

Like Elgin has already done, Carpentersville officials will move the ones in the ambulances to three fire engines, turning them into "advanced life support engines," Schuldt said.

So if an ambulance was tied up and a fire engine responded to a call instead, the machines would give the engines same sort of lifesaving capabilities as the ambulances.

"It's just a tool in the paramedics' toolbox," Schuldt said.

The partnership with Carpentersville is the latest example of Elgin reaching out to its neighbors.

Elgin is also taking over dispatching services with South Elgin and its fire department is taking calls in unincorporated Kane County that East Dundee had been handling for years.

"This is just another example of when we work together, the taxpayer wins," Fahy said.



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