Posts Tagged Metro Paramedic Services

Elmhurst Fire Department news (more)

Excerpts from the

Elmhurst Fire Department officials introduced their new advanced life-support rapid-response vehicle Saturday.

The new utility vehicle, a Ford Explorer provided under a contract with Metro Paramedic Services and staffed around the clock by one paramedic, is intended to fill a small gap in city ambulance coverage.

City officials call the new vehicle more nimble than either an ambulance or a fire engine, and therefore able to reach an accident or illness site more quickly, but acknowledge the vehicle cannot be used to transport a patient to a health care facility.

The city already contracts with Metro for two ambulances, each staffed by two paramedic. Those ambulances cover about 97 percent of city medical emergency calls in under four minutes. But after some city residents raised concerns that fire engines sometimes reach medical emergencies ahead of the ambulances, aldermen on the city’s public affairs and safety committee agreed to look at emergency response times and options.

Elmhurst is one of the first communities in the area to use this approach. Naperville has two such vehicles, but they are used in different ways, according to Naperville Deputy Chief Andy Dina.

The Naperville vehicles are also manned by one person, but that person is not necessarily a paramedic.  The vehicles typically respond to such non-emergency situations as elevator alarms, trouble alarms on fire systems, and carbon monoxide alarms where there’s no illness. The person on the rig can also respond to ambulance calls to provide an extra set of hands

“We are on the cutting edge here in Elmhurst, providing paramedics and an advanced support rapid response vehicle,” explained Fire Chief Thomas Freeman.

“The rapid response vehicle went on four calls today,” Elmhurst Mayor Steve Morley said Monday. “It got to two of those calls before the ambulance and in both of those were able to assess and call off the ambulances.”

One ambulance is quartered in each of the city’s two firehouses. The mayor noted that when either of those rigs goes out on a call, Rescue 1 will move into place in the open firehouse to provide quick response to another emergency.

Elmhurst union firefighters and at least one resident have told committee members they believe adding a certified paramedic firefighter to each shift at each fire station would be the most effective way to provide better coverage. But Freeman and Grabowski have said that approach could come with scheduling problems and some unknown costs in terms of pay and benefits.

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Elmhurst Fire Department news (more)

Here is a picture of the ALS Rapid Response vehicle that the Elmhurst Fire Department put into service this weekend. The vehicle, which is labeled “Rescue 1” is provided by & staffed by Metro Paramedic Services. Out of the three options the City of Elmhurst looked at (upgrading to ALS engines; running a 3rd ambulance; running an ALS rapid response vehicle), this is the one that was chosen.  

Elmhurst Fire Department Rescue 1

Elmhurst Fire Department Rescue 1


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Elmhurst Fire Department news (more)

Excerpts from the

The best way to fill what Elmhurst officials see as a small gap in the city’s emergency medical response ability is to contract for one additional certified paramedic in a rapid response vehicle, the Public Affairs and Safety Committee agreed.

The rapid response vehicle was one of three options Fire Chief Thomas Freeman presented to the committee. That option offered flexibility, since it could be set up on either a 12-hour or 24-hour shift. The city has contracted with Metro Paramedic Services for decades and Freeman said city could add the rapid response vehicle and one paramedic on a 24-hour shift for about $165,000 a year.

Naperville is the only community in DuPage County to try the approach, and has had success.

The rapid response vehicle would not be subject to mutual aid agreements with other towns.

Most calls for emergency medical services are now handled by one of two ambulances, each staffed by two certified paramedics.

Geoff Gaebel, an Elmhurst resident and firefighter in another town who has been persistent in calling for additional paramedic staffing, told committee members “One rapid response vehicle means one side of town is uncovered. An ALS (fire) company could cost significantly less than rapid response. I hope there’s some reconsideration or additional consideration at the council meeting.”

The unanimous recommendation from the committee will go to the city council for action at its next meeting on Monday, April 3. If the plan is approved there it could be implemented with a staffed vehicle in place by June or July.

thanks Scott

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Elmhurst Fire Department news

Excerpts from the

Elmhurst officials are reviewing fire department operations at a time when a growing number of calls are for emergency medical services. The review will focus on staffing and equipment levels.

City officials say the department is now fully staffed with 11 firefighters per shift. The city also contracts with Metro Paramedic Services, Inc., part of Superior Ambulance Service, for two advanced life support ambulances, with each staffed around the clock by two paramedics, part of a Metro crew of 12 who average seven years of experience.

But a number of residents have questioned whether two ambulances are enough for a town as large and spread out as Elmhurst. Many have called either for additional ambulances or for the city to staff fire trucks and engines with firefighters who are also certified paramedics.

Critics of the set-up say fire equipment and firefighters are often the first on the scene, ahead of the ambulance, and could provide advanced life support services.

Firefighter members of Elmhurst Local 3541 of the International Association of Fire Fighters have said many of the city’s firefighters are certified paramedics and would like to be able to use their skills.

But city manager James Grabowski has said he is concerned over the possibility of loss of state revenue as the state’s lack of a budget drags on. The city’s budget does not include any money for additional emergency medical services or staffing, but left open the possibility that money could be found if the council decides to move in that direction.

Fire Chief Thomas Freeman presented information showing that while the number of fire calls has remained fairly steady over the last 10 years, the number of calls for emergency medical services has grown from fewer than 3,000 to more than 4,000.

But Freeman said there have only been 133 instances where the city has called for an additional ambulance from another community, meaning that the city’s two ambulances have been able to handle nearly 97 percent of calls for medical services.

Elmhurst fire’s response time for an ambulance call is under four minutes, while calls involving mutual aid average less than seven and a half minutes. That time is about the same for both calls where an Elmhurst ambulance goes to another town and cases where another town’s ambulance responds to an Elmhurst call.

Freeman and Grabowski explained that all department responses are dispatched by the DuPage Public Safety Organization, DU-COMM, which responds to 911 calls and dispatches responders from 45 agencies in DuPage County.

Grabowski and others explained several aspects of the contract ambulance service, including that Metro does all ambulance service billing, that Elmhurst residents are not billed for any balance beyond what their insurance covers and that billing revenue over contract thresholds are returned to the city at the end of the year. That provision has returned hundreds of thousands of dollars to the city over the 40 years the city has contracted with Metro.

thanks Dan

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Cicero paramedics seeking wage hike

Excerpts from

Paramedics from Metro Paramedic Services are picketing Thursday, asking public support for living wages. The paramedics have been negotiating since September 2014 for a living wage. Nate Morrish, a representative for the International Association of EMTs and Paramedics, said that the Cicero paramedics have a much harder time making ends meet than the other employees of the same corporation in the region.

“Paramedics in Cicero are getting paid less per hour than paramedics working for Superior, their parent company,” Morrish said. “The employer is making them pay more for their medical insurance than it makes other paramedics in the area pay, and it’s refusing to provide them education in skills like advanced cardiac life support and pre-hospital trauma life support. That’s not just harmful to paramedics and their family budgets. That’s potentially dangerous to patients in greater Cicero.”

The national director of the IAEP said the difficulties the Cicero paramedics are facing are all too common.

“EMS workers put in ridiculous hours, never see their families, and get paid embarrassingly low wages,” said IAEP National Director Phil Petit. “It makes it hard to develop a stable workforce in any one location because people can’t support their families like that, and that’s not good for the people who depend on them.”

Petit said he hoped that residents would show their support. “When people find out what their local paramedics go through, they’re usually very supportive,” he said. “We hope they’ll realize how much their neighbors mean to them and come show them some support.”

thanks Dan

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Antioch renews contract with Superior

The Lake-County Sun has an article about Antioch’s decision to extend their EMS contract for another year:

Metro Paramedic Services will continue to provide emergency medical services in the village for at least another year. Village officials agreed to renew the contract with Metro to provide six paramedics and six emergency medical technicians to staff the two village-owned fire stations 24 hours daily. The 12 state-certified ambulance personnel employed by Metro are all local volunteer firefighters.

Metro has been providing both equipment and personnel since the village terminated its 72-year relationship with the not-for-profit Antioch Rescue Squad on June 1, 2013.

Metro is a contract agency that employs trained firefighters, paramedics and EMTs to many fire agencies throughout northern Illinois. “It is a cost effective alternative to municipalities hiring their own full-time employees,” said Fire Chief John Nixon. Metro also provides all applicable benefits to their employees.

The village will save about $106,000 annually by contracting for only personnel and dropping a contract for equipment. Antioch Firefighters Association last month donated an ALS (advanced life support) ambulance bringing the village’s fleet to three fully-equipped ALS ambulances. The personnel-only contract will cost the village $795,376 annually or $66,281 monthly.

Last year, the village purchased a used 2000 International Ambulance with 22,000 miles and obtained another used 2000 ambulance with funds from the state Foreign Fire Insurance Tax Board. The vehicles and equipment had to pass state inspection before they could be used by the village. That step was completed Friday, said Nixon.

Even though the village is saving money by providing its own vehicles, revenue falls far short of costs, said Nixon. The average cost of an EMS call is $920. Nixon estimates the cost for 1,863 projected annual EMS calls will total $1.128 million, but estimated revenue will probably be at only 42 percent of that total for the first year or $475,000.

Nixon said about 32 percent of rescue calls are reimbursed by insurance, 33 percent are covered by Medicare and 12 percent are covered by Medicaid. The balance of patients have no insurance and in many cases, can’t pay the cost for the service. To help balance revenue with expenses, village officials also agreed to raise ambulance and life safety fees.

Nixon said the new rates are comparable to rates charged by other neighboring municipalities that do not levy a tax for EMS services. He projects the combined cost for EMS and fire services in the village will total $840,000.

The village is working with the township, served by the First Fire Protection District, to jointly provide fire and rescue services and reduce costs. The villages shares costs with the fire district for fire protection but each entity is responsible for providing its own rescue service. The township is continuing to contract with Antioch Rescue Squad for rescue calls in the township. The contract with ARS expires May 8. Because EMS is not funded through tax revenue the village and fire district are exploring the option of a tax levy to help offset ambulance service costs.

“If a tax levy were in place for EMS we could significantly lower fees,” said Nixon, explaining the higher fees adopted by the village board will help cover the costs to serve all residents, including those who can’t afford to pay.

“Right now the revenue to cover those expenses is coming from the village’s general fund, which also pays for fire, police, village and parks services.”


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Cicero FD apparatus updates

This from Larry Shapiro:

The Cicero Fire Department has placed an order with Pierce for a Dash PUC engine that is expected in February. It will replace Engine 3, a 1999 Pierce Saber.

Cicero Fire Department

Cicero Engine 3 has been placed into reserve status and will be replaced by a new engine that has been ordered. Larry Shapiro photo

Cicero also has a relatively new command buggy in service as F12.

Cicero Fire Department

The Cicero Shift Commander F12 is in this 2010 Chevy Tahoe. Larry Shapiro photo

Metro Paramedic Services, part of Superior Ambulance, who provides EMS for Cicero has placed a new ambulance at the headquarters station. It was built by Demers Ambulances (a Canadian builder) in 2012 on a 2011 Mercedes Benz Sprinter chassis. The new F10 is expected to be placed in service shortly.


Cicero Fire Department

New 2012 Type II ambulance for Cicero F10 by Demers Ambulances on a 2011 Sprinter chassis. Larry Shapiro photo

Cicero Fire Department

Rear view with full chevron striping for Cicero F10. Larry Shapiro photo

Cicero Fire Department

Passenger side of new Sprinter Ambulance F10 with large sliding door. Larry Shapiro photo

Cicero Fire Department

Manufacturer’s law tag.

Cicero Fire Department

Daimler AG law tag.

Cicero Fire Department

Interior of the patient treatment and transport area. Larry Shapiro photo





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Fox River and Countryside Fire/Rescue District – update

The Kane County Chronicle has an article which outlines a new deadline for the Fox River and Countryside Fire/Rescue District board to choose a service provider for the new fire department.

Some excerpts from the article:

The Fox River and Countryside Fire/Rescue District board did not choose an emergency service provider as expected on Thursday but said they would negotiate a contract with two potential providers and choose one by Feb. 1.

The two are the City of St. Charles Fire Department and AES, American Emergency Services. The board met at a special meeting in a basement training room at St. Charles Fire Station 1.

“We brought them in, gave each one three minutes to answer questions and the citizens advisory wrote down their comments,” Baldwin said of the potential service providers. “AES met pretty much down the line in regards to the [request for proposal] we had and St. Charles suggested pretty much staying status quo.”

A third potential service provider, Metro Paramedic Services, was dropped from consideration because its proposal response was not complete.

The entire article can be found HERE.

The Daily Herald had an article last week (January 10) which stated that American Emergency Services (AES) will almost certainly get the contract. That article can be found HERE.

American Emergency Services will almost certainly be the new 911 service provider for the former St. Charles Countryside Fire Protection District.

On January 14th, The Daily Herald had a followup article.

Residents grill Fox River Countryside fire district over dumping St. Charles firefighters

Feedback during Thursday’s meeting at the St. Charles downtown fire station made it clear that some residents remain wary of what it will all mean to the emergency services in the St. Charles, Campton and Wayne township areas served by the district.

“Perhaps some of us missed some of the details in the past as to what was going on, but we are confident in the St. Charles Fire Department, and your plan slipped by us,” (resident Dennis) Marquis told fire district trustees. “There is no excuse for not watching more closely in the past, but we will be watching more closely now. We wish you success with your plan and hope you come through on your goals of better response time and cost controls.”

“We have a centrally located fire station in St. Charles, so why would we build and staff two separate offices, supposedly for better protection? It seems very unusual to me,” (resident Becky) Lenard said.

The complete article can be found HERE.

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