Thanks to a local senior living community, the Bethalto Fire Department will be better equipped to save lives.
“Last December, Villa Rose (Senior Living Community) donated $6,000 to give us new defibrillators for our vehicles,” Fire Chief Rich Mersinger said. “What we had was seven, eight years old and pretty worn.”
The new equipment was installed on all four front-line vehicles and was placed in service last weekend. The new defibrillators have the ability to interface with ambulance cardiac monitors, removing the need to remove patches for arriving ambulance services and increasing efficiency and seamless transition from one emergency responder to another.
Villa Rose donated the equipment to show appreciation to the responders who have helped so many of its residents over the years.
“They had inquired about how many calls we run there, and those calls have been increasing by 20 to 30 each year, so they wanted to do something for us in return,” Mersinger said.
Advanced Life Support license
The Bethalto Fire Department is in the process of applying for its Advanced Life Support license with the Department of Public Health.
The department currently has three paramedics with two additional in paramedic school. Mersinger says he is hoping to have one of his pumpers Advanced Life Support-capable by the end of March.
“We had been kicking around the idea, and since we now have a couple of guys going through paramedic school, we thought it would be well worth the cost and upgrade one of our apparatus to Advanced Life Support,” he said.
The upgrade, at a cost of about $10,000, will allow the department to administer intravenous therapy in the field and use a 12-lead cardiac monitor for the heart.
“Right now, we provide basic life support service, which is basically intubation and the use of an automatic defibrillator,” Mersinger said. “This will allow us to provide a little more pre-hospital care than we have been able to before now.”