Excerpts from the ChicagoTribune.com:

Before next month is over, the Aurora Fire Department plans to have all of its front-line vehicles upgraded to provide basic life support by adding drugs, blood pressure cuffs, stethoscopes, bandages, oxygen, automatic external defibrillators, and other airway equipment, said Aurora Fire Department spokesman Lt. Jim Rhodes.

EMS Battalion Chief Clete Rettenmeier and Support Paramedic Joe Blesdoe have made it a goal for the department to upgrade all fire apparatus not licensed by the state as an emergency medical service vehicle to provide basic life support, with the intent of reducing the amount of time to get help to patients.

Six engines have been upgraded this year and in June they plan to upgrade the department’s three truck companies. The equipment upgrades cost roughly $1,000 per engine.

The department has six advanced life support (ALS) ambulances plus three ALS engines.

The introduction of engines with the new equipment has already helped reduce response times by almost 17 percent compared to the same period last year which are significant as the department has treated 9.5 percent more patients so far this year.

“The call volume of the fire department has increased significantly over the past several years putting greater stress on department resources,” according to a statement by the fire department.

thanks Dan