Archive for February 9th, 2014

Firefighter training at NIPSTA

This from Drew Smith:

On February 6th, the NIPSTA Firefighter Academy candidates were instructed on working from an aerial and on Bangor ladder raises. Due to the temperatures being near zero NIPSTA Truck 1 was set up inside and the class conducted using the two-and-one-half story RIT prop.

firefighter training with big ladders

Drew Smith photo

firemen training at indoor location

Drew Smith photo

firemen train with Bangor ladder

Drew Smith photo

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Does Chicago have a shortage of ambulances?

Pam Zekman from CBSChicago did a piece the other night on the state of the Chicago FD ambulance fleet and EMS responses:

If you have a life-threatening condition will the city get an ambulance to you in time?

CBS 2?s Pam Zekman and the Better Government Association investigated and found they may not. That’s why paramedics say the city needs more paramedics and ambulances.

Take the case of Lynn Ramos. She was crossing Washington Street in the Loop last month when she was struck by a 2-ton postal truck. Fire engines with a paramedic on board arrived in about four minutes to extricate her from under a wheel of the truck. In recorded calls, one of them can be heard asking a city dispatcher why an ambulance hasn’t shown up yet. Ambulances housed closer to the downtown were not available. The vehicle that was available was five miles away and took 16 minutes to get there — 10 minutes longer than state guidelines suggest. The injured Ramos was suffering from a punctured lung; one fractured leg and the other broken in two places; a fractured pelvis and ribs.

The delay never should have happened, says Paramedic Field Chief Patrick Fitzmaurice. “We don’t have enough ambulances,” he says.

The city says it meets state standards by getting a fire engine with a paramedic and advanced life support equipment to the scene within six minutes to stabilize a patient until an ambulance arrives.

“It may take 10 to 15 minutes for an ambulance to show up after that,” said another paramedic, who asked CBS 2 to conceal his identity. ”And, depending on what’s wrong with the person, those minutes are critical.”

He’s one of more than a half dozen paramedics who tells CBS 2 that’s not good enough for people suffering from life-threatening conditions.

A stroke patient, for example, needs to be taken to a stroke center where their condition can be assessed and drugs given to eliminate the deficits they may suffer, he says. A gunshot victim, accident victims with internal injuries “need a surgeon to repair what their problem is,” says the other paramedic. “Time is of the essence.”

An audit by the city’s inspector general highlights the problem. It found that the city’s medical response times did not meet the standards recommended by the National Fire Protection Association. The NFPA says advanced life support equipment should get to a medical emergency within five minutes from the time it is dispatched 90 percent of the time. The inspector general found the city only met that standard 58 percent of the time.

“Taxpayer money for critical services are at the core of what we pay our taxes to do,” Inspector General Joseph Ferguson said. “And to the extent that our office looked at it, it appears that it is being done at a much lower level than what the fire department was claiming.”

Ferguson says the fire department first told his office they use the NFPA standards but then said they did not. And the report criticized the methods the fire department used to calculate its performance, saying, “No one has any idea truly how well it is performing a core mission.”

Andy Shaw of the Better Government Association says. “… peoples’ lives will be imperiled if they don’t get the right ambulances and the right trained personnel to the scene quickly enough.” 

And that’s a daily struggle for dispatchers, paramedics like Fitzmaurice say. “There are times they literally just get on the radio and say, ‘I have no ambulances. … Can anybody go?’”

In a written statement, Fire Commissioner Jose Santiago disagrees there is an ambulance shortage. “The Fire department takes its calls for medical assistance very seriously and does not have a shortage of ambulances,” he said. Santiago also said the department plans to hire more paramedics this year, “after a temporary delay due to our updating testing requirements.”

“We are fully staffed every day with a mix of paramedics working straight time and overtime, the majority of which is voluntary. This allows us to respond quickly to start care and transport patients,” he says. In response to questions, a spokesman said the department would hire enough paramedics to reduce the $7 million it had to pay in overtime last year.

And the department is already tracking the response times of ALS ambulances to see how they can be utilized more efficiently and whether they need to move the headquarters for some of them to meet increased demands.

This from Bill Post:

This is a problem that most of us have known about for a while already however the ALS Engines and Trucks have been arriving on the scene much sooner which is the reason for the ALS fire company program. If you look at the video and the story you will see that one of the EMS field supervisors was willing to go on camera to confirm the story. That is unusual as he is an employee of the CFD . If you’ll notice the second CFD employee in the report chose not to be identified.

thanks Dan & Bill

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Bus fire in Prospect Heights, 2-6-14

This from Drew Smith:

All-Hand Pace Bus Fire for E39, S9, S42, B9, and A9 at Apple and Milwaukee

On Thursday, February 6th at 3:10 p.m. E39 and B9 were dispatched to a car fire at Apple Drive and Milwaukee Avenue in Prospect Heights. Engine 39 arrived and reported the fire was in a Pace Bus a block west of Milwaukee and they were dropping a line. Battalion 9 arrived two minutes later and asked RED Center to send Squad 9 also. The bus driver reported to B9 that all passengers were off and none were injured. The fire involved the rear section of the bus which spread to both sides and underneath, including all four rear tires. S9 used a second line on the fire.

Due to the stubborn nature of the fire and the severe weather B9 asked RED Center to send Ambulance 9 and Wheeling Squad 42 for assistance. Foam from E39 was used. S9 and S42 used a K-12 saw to cut open the sides and floor to access the fire. However, cutting the floor was futile due to the design of the bus and the fact that the underside of the frame is covered with a metal plate. S9’s driver had to shovel out a fire hydrant to secure a positive water supply. Several SCBA masks and regulators froze up and frozen foam coated several firefighters like snowmen. More than a dozen spare air tanks were used before the fire was out. After more than an hour firefighters were able to have Pace’s wrecker lift the bus so they could ensure the fire was completely out.

firemen extinguish transit bus fire

Drew Smith photo


Prospect Heights firemen extinguish transit bus fire

Drew Smith photo

firemen extinguish transit bus fireDrew Smith photo

firemen extinguish transit bus fire

Drew Smith photo

firemen extinguish transit bus fire

Drew Smith photo

firemen extinguish transit bus fire

Drew Smith photo

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