New Rescue Equipment Will Aid Jacksonville Fire Department in Tech Rescue Status Goal

By Jeremy Coumbes on March 30, 2022 at 12:02pm

The Jacksonville Fire Department will soon have a few more tools in the toolbox for saving lives.

The Jacksonville City Council approved the purchase of several budgeted items for the Fire Department during the regular session Monday night. The first item approved was the purchase of a Zoll AutoPulse Resuscitation System which provides automatic CPR to a patient.

Jacksonville Fire Department Chief Doug Sills says they currently use an AutoPulse out of the main fire station and the new one will be put into service at the West Lafayette sub-station.

Sills says the AutoPulse can be a vital piece of equipment during a medical emergency. “What this device does is it delivers high-quality CPR with no stopping or pausing to move the patient. It allows for once the guys get on scene and hands-on CPR has been started, then once the paramedics get to a spot where they can quit drugs or anything like that, then we can actually attach this device to the patient. From then on CPR is automated by the device.”

Sills says the AutoPulse allows for quality CPR to continue to be administered to a patient when manual cannot be, such as when moving a patient to a cot or out of a residence. He says use of the automatic CPR unit combined with cardiac monitors has led to an increase in the success rate of medical calls by his department.

The other proposal approved by the council last night was for the purchase of additional technical rescue equipment for the fire department. The Jacksonville Fire Department has been working to achieve full technical rescue status over the last few years.

Chief Sills says they recognized the need for tech rescue availability just simply due to the demographics of the area. “We are the only career department between Springfield and Quincy, Alton and Peoria, where we would pull those technical teams from. We are kind of an island of our own.

About four years ago we started to train our guys up to that technician level in trench, collapse, confined space, a high angle, or rope rescue training. So we’ve gotten to a point where we’ve got the training completed and we’ve got some basic equipment but we needed to finish out the equipment side of it so we could start training with it and deliver that service to our region.”

The Jacksonville Fire Department will soon be able to deploy a Paratech strut system that can be used for securing and stabilizing things like trenches or structures that are in danger of collapsing on trapped individuals.

Another new tool in the toolbox will be a grain tube rescue sleeve used to stabilize the area around an individual who has become trapped in grain such as in grain silos and food processing plants. Currently, the South Jacksonville Fire Department has the only grain tube in the area.

Sills says if all goes to plan, he anticipates the Jacksonville Fire Department achieving full technical rescue status sometime next year.