Excerpts from theChicagoTribune.com:

From an automated way to fill holes in scheduling, to ambulances holding mobile cots designed to transport the morbidly obese, in recent years, the Elgin Fire Department has been taking advantage of advances in technology to upgrade its equipment and streamline operations.

Fire Chief John Fahy spoke about these moves at the June 10 City Council meeting.

… inspectors now input information into laptop computers, sending the information directly into the department’s database and sending it electronically to the business (instead of using paper forms)

Another change [is] using computer scheduling software through which messages are sent to off duty firefighters requesting their services to fill absences. The task used to take up to five hours, and now it takes about 30 minutes for a battalion chief to complete.

The department also has been using software for the classroom side of continuing training for firefighters.

On the operational side, among its vehicles the department in recent years purchased a quint for Station 7 on the city’s far west side. A quint is a multipurpose unit equipped with fire pump, water tank, fire hose, aerial device, and ground ladders — a combo of a ladder truck and fire engine.

“A host of technological upgrades to our engines have allowed us to turn each and every fire engine in the city into a paramedic engine,” Fahy said.

New cardiac monitors allow Elgin paramedics to communicate electronically with the department’s reporting system. And along with incorporating this new tech, the department has shifted its procedures for cardiac arrest care in the field.

Elgin now uses a NASCAR-like pit crew style for running a full arrest call, assigning specific jobs to paramedics and EMTs in a full arrest scenario in order to make sure that the highest quality CPR can be delivered in the location where the patient arrested. Fahy said this change has raised the number of cases in which patients return to spontaneous circulation from 14 percent in 2013 to 37 percent today.

This city in recent times has been averaging about 8,000 ambulance calls a year, and reports for those runs years ago went digital. …  “And reports now can be sent directly to our billing agent” Fahy said.

Two summers ago, the department upgraded an ambulance so that patients weighing up to 700 pounds can be more safely secured and transported.

Two new ambulances delivered June 10 and being readied for the road came equipped with power load systems which have special rails on their cots that adjust to secure patients. Ambulance crews line up the cots with the power load arms, and the system automatically lifts and loads patients.

As for other technologies that might be down the road for the department, Fahy mentioned that the police and fire departments are jointly looking at possibly getting a drone.

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