The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Local News

November 21, 2012

City pares down DFD responses

New call list went into effect Oct. 1

DANVILLE — If residents haven’t seen as many fire trucks on the streets responding to every medical emergency phone call, that’s because changes occurred last month to which emergency medical services calls firefighters now respond.

The issue came up publicly earlier this month when retired firefighter Randy Elliott told aldermen a recent reduction to the list of EMS calls firefighters go on, to save wear and tear on the trucks and equipment, is not meeting the mission of the fire department.

Elliott again spoke before the city council Tuesday night saying he was initially “disappointed” with the changes and now was “aggravated” about the issue.

Mayor Scott Eisenhauer sent information to aldermen and the media about the fire department changes after Elliott spoke Nov. 6 about the fire department’s response now for various calls.

In his e-mailed statement, Eisenhauer said Elliott’s suggestion is untrue that recent changes to the fire division response to EMS calls had been reduced to an unsafe level and that protection of the public is in jeopardy.

He said Elliott’s comments are based “far more on fear than on fact.”

Public Safety Director Larry Thomason said a list of possible response calls was pared down to 13.

Firefighters still will respond to heart problems and other life-threatening EMS calls, but for more minor calls, such as twice responding to a call for transportation for a pregnancy, won’t be happening any more, Thomason said.

Medix Ambulance Service remains the primary medical call responder.

Elliott said Tuesday night that he knows a policy is a policy, but he wasn’t speaking from fear, but facts.

He cited a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey about the leading cause of death being heart disease and the No. 1 symptom being chest pains. The fire department now will not respond to non-traumatic chest pains.

Elliott said the policy change will affect individuals’ lives.

If someone lives farther away from Medix than a fire station, firefighters could help the ill person if they would get there first, Elliott said.

Some firefighters are or have been paramedics and they also have Emergency Medical Technician training, he said.

Firefighters can save a life, Elliott said.

Elliott also said it doesn’t make sense for the fire department not to respond to unconscious persons or people with diabetic problems. These can be life-threatening issues, he said.

Thomason said he, with the fire command staff, analyzed which responses were appropriate for the fire division to respond, and based on training and resources, which responses the fire department could effectively provide medical assistance.

The new response call list went into effect on Oct. 1.

In reviewing the list, firefighters still respond to life-threatening medical calls, and continue to support Medix in providing life-saving assistance. According to Thomason, the recent changes in EMS dispatching for fire were discussed with the firefighters.

Dispatching a fire apparatus to all EMS calls was instituted in the city years ago to show activity in the fire service, according to Thomason.

“The intent, while well meaning, did not take into consideration advances in fire suppression training/requirements or the ultimate impact it could have on fire personnel physically,” Thomason said in a memo about the issue to firefighters.

He said after consultation with fire command, he made the changes in EMS dispatching for three important reasons: personnel safety, public safety and equipment preservation.

When an engine company responds in full emergency, the potential is there for an accident to occur and the public usually is involved, Thomason said.

Equipment also is getting older and while city officials continue to identify funding sources for upgrades, the city must maintain the current fleet for the purposes it was intended: the primary function of the fire service, fire suppression, Thomason said.

He said some of the fire calls people have heard are funny and can leave them scratching their heads.

A call in the early morning hours, a pregnancy, and an emergency response. On arrival, the caller is waiting at the curb with bags in hand. She called only for a ride to the hospital.

The original EMS dispatching list, which was prepared in 2010 by former Assistant Fire Chief Don Hanetho, was reviewed by command, Thomason reiterated.

Not all EMS dispatches were canceled, nor will they be, Thomason said. The current list addresses what are true medical-needs responses where fire could be a first-on-scene to stabilize. Also considered in the final list was the fact that once Medix is on scene, the patient is turned over to them.

Further, Thomason said there were no objections raised by Medix.

“Additionally you are aware of the status change to rescue. At a recent meeting with the regional coordinator, I and Assistant Chief (Larry) Jaggers learned for the first time the requirements attached to a licensed transport vehicle. Prompt declassification to non-transport was the only approach. To that end, the decision to man or not man the rig was one additional problem an incident commander will not have to deal with, especially during an alarm event.

“The most basic purpose of any fire department is to prevent loss of life and property related to fire incidents. Fire services are further responsible for enforcing building codes, promoting fire safety and conducting safety inspections. With these additional tasks and combined with larger amounts of training, interruptions for non-medical calls need to be eliminated,” Thomason said.

“We are now, and shall continue to be, at a stable level of personnel for fire suppression that can adequately staff each station house and equipment to perform the basic function,” he added.

Thomason said he believes the reduction of EMS responses will benefit each fire division member, will provide an additional safeguard to their well being and help maintain the fleet to the extent members and equipment are used for their intended purpose — fire suppression.

With the built-in monitoring by the assistant chiefs and duty captains to override any response potential, and always with the caveat for dispatchers that “when in doubt — dispatch,” the services by the division will be delivered in a timely, professional manner.

It was almost a year ago that the city council approved a Public Safety Revenue Committee recommendation to requesting proposals for fire division billing services for non-residents

Eisenhauer had said the city is capable of doing the billing itself, but nothing proceeded.

Thomason said there are insurance issues.It would have involved outsource billing for fire department recovery billing for emergency medical services and incidents to which the fire department responds that don’t involve city residents.

Thomason voiced objections to this proposal. Thomason favored the city’s finance department overseeing any billing of public safety services, not an outside company. A billing company would essentially be a collection agency and likely would use aggressive tactics to seek payments, he said.

He said the department could then have a bad image.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • DHA celebrates 75 years; contract under review DANVILLE — As the Danville Housing Authority celebrates 75 years this year, it’s also undergoing some transition with new board members.July 20 marked 75 years for the housing authority. DHA officials are talking about having a recognition event.The

    July 24, 2014

  • U.S. pushes for truce as battle rages GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Israeli troops battled Hamas militants on Wednesday near a southern Gaza Strip town as the top U.S. diplomat reported progress in efforts to end fighting that has so far killed more than 680 Palestinians and 34 Israelis.But ne

    July 24, 2014

  • Jet victims' bodies arrive EINDHOVEN, Netherlands — Two planes carrying 40 coffins bearing victims of the downed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 landed Wednesday in the southern city of Eindhoven, and pro-Russian rebels shot down two fighter jets in Ukraine’s restive east as fight

    July 24, 2014

  • Fire Calls Firefighters responded to the following calls:Tuesday, 9:23-9:33 p.m. — A medical call in the 200 block of Grace Street.Tuesday, 10:41-10:50 p.m. — A medical call in the 600 block of Pixley Street.Wednesday, 12:30-12:45 a.m. — A medical call in the 3

    July 24, 2014

  • Malachi Hatcher.jpg Murder charges coming soon DANVILLE — A man arrested on shooting charges at the end of June now will face murder charges stemming from the incident.Seventeen-year-old Malachi D. Hatcher was arrested on June 24 on a warrant charging him in connection with the June shooting of t

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jobs board sees numerous openings DANVILLE — Vermilion Advantage President and CEO Vicki Haugen can’t remember a time when the local job openings board had so many open positions.It reached 68 job opening postings, some representing multiple job opportunities totaling more than the 6

    July 24, 2014

  • Fair Oaks7.jpg A full, balanced meal The line of children forms early in the day in front of the community building at Danville Housing Authority’s Fair Oaks public housing complex.The children, ranging in age from 1 to 18, eagerly wait for the nutritious lunch they will be served as pa

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Walldogs artists come to Ridge Farm RIDGE FARM — A group of five Walldogs artists, four of whom worked on the Danville Walldogs murals, are making a return visit to the area.This time they will be painting a mural in Ridge Farm.The site is downtown, at Illinois Route 1 and Woodyard, wh

    July 24, 2014

  • Children’s play set for weekend

    July 23, 2014

  • Westville council limits parking on two streets

    Village trustees approved an ordinance Tuesday night to restrict parking on two village streets.

    July 23, 2014

E-edition
Spring 2014 Photos


Buy these photos and more via Smugmug

AP Video
Raw: Families Travel to Taiwan Plane Crash Site Arizona Execution Takes Almost Two Hours Gen. Odierno Discusses Ukraine, NATO at Forum Gaza Fighting Rages Amid Cease-Fire Efforts Mint Gives JFK Coin a Face-lift Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers Ariz. Inmate Dies 2 Hours After Execution Began Crash Kills Teen Pilot Seeking World Record LeBron James Sends Apology Treat to Neighbors Raw: Funeral for Man Who Died in NYPD Custody Migrants Back in Honduras After US Deports Israeli American Reservist Torn Over Return Raw: ISS Cargo Ship Launches in Kazakhstan Six Indicted in StubHub Hacking Scheme Former NTSB Official: FAA Ban 'prudent' EPA Gets Hip With Kardashian Tweet Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in the Netherlands Biden Decries Voting Restrictions in NAACP Talk Broncos Owner Steps Down Due to Alzheimer's US, UN Push Shuttle Diplomacy in Mideast
NDN Video
LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad Jimmy Kimmel Introduces His Baby Girl Swim Daily, Nina Agdal in the Cook Islands Guilty Dog Apologizes to Baby for Stealing Her Toy Prince George Turns 1 and is Already a Trendsetter Train Collides With Semi Truck Carrying Lighter Fluid Kanye West Tells-All on Wedding in "GQ" Interview Tony Dungy Weighs in on Michael Sam Scarlett Johansson Set To Marry In August New Star Wars Episode XII X-Wing Revealed Obama: Putin must push separatists to aid MH17 probe Michigan inmates no longer allowed to wear orange due to 'OITNB'
Must Read