Changes to Kansas City Fire Department trucks should help lower response times.
As part of its budget vote, the Kansas City Council on Thursday approved additional equipment and other upgrades for the fire department. The total cost is projected to be $340,000.
Trucks have basic medical equipment, but often more advanced equipment is needed. Firefighters have to wait for an ambulance to arrive, which means precious seconds are ticking.
The trucks now will get more advanced lifesaving equipment, including IVs, certain drugs, advanced incubation and a cardiac monitor.
"If after the electric shock, they still have not responded, the (basic-life saving crew) is pretty much done, there's nothing else they can do," Fire Deputy Chief Tom Collins said.
But the new equipment will give additional options similar to what paramedics have on ambulances.
"We can monitor what the patient's heart rythmn is," Collins said.
In addition, some current firefighters will receive training so that are certified paramedics.
Collins said he looks forward to doing more than just helping the paramedics in municipal ambulances.
"For a long time, I've stood by and watched, known what to do . . . Now, instead of just being an extra set of hands, I can actually take part and do it," he said.
Two pumper trucks in the Northland and south Kansas City have the new equipment. The vote Thursday will add the equipment and offer the training for a third pumper truck. The city is targeting trucks serving the outskirts of the city where ambulances need more time to respond.
The goal is to add more paramedics onto pumper trucks in the future and get additional equipment.
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