In a move to provide better emergency care to the community, the Springfield Fire Department will start operating advanced life support units in the New Year. This will enable a higher level of care to accident victims and those suffering sudden medical emergencies.

Better Emergency Care
Three units would be stationed at firehouses across the city according to Fire Chief, Ken Fustin. These units would not be used to transport patients, but will provide a higher level of medical care for people who suffer traumatic injury, cardiac arrest, a drug overdose or are in diabetic emergency, according to Fustin.
The squads look like a pickup cab attached to a utility box and are smaller than firetrucks
Paramedics can Administer Lifesaving Drugs
Paramedics would be able to carry and administer drugs, thanks to the advanced life support systems used in the units, including naloxone, a drug that can reverse opiate overdose and medications for treating heart attack.  According to Springfield accident attorneys, time is of the essence in resuscitation efforts, since the brain starts to die within four minutes after the heart stops pumping. This equipment would probably help save lives and reduce the number of fatal accidents.
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Fustin said that the department had responded to 120 drug overdoses this year adding that the faster such advanced treatment can be given to patients, the better the outcomes. He also stated that the speed of response was crucial in this profession where the quicker paramedics could stop a person from bleeding, the lesser the risk of any complications. He said it was crucial to keep a person’s heart beat to return to normal as soon as possible to enable a full recovery.
Cost of Upgrading
According to Fustin, new equipment worth $50,000, which included four cardiac monitors have been acquired by the department. The department arrived at a 3 percent figure of pay increase for its 30 paramedics after negotiations with the union that represents firefighters. The pay increase of 3 percent would result in an annual cost of $76,000. The estimated budget for fiscal year 2015 which would end on February 28th is about $36.3 million.
In 2014, the Springfield Fire Department had responded to 17,038 incidents that included fires, medical calls, and false alarms as compared to 16,383 calls the previous year. There have been 16 fatal heroin overdoses in Sangamon County in 2014, and 15 opiate related deaths in 2013, which includes other opiates such as OxyContin, according to information from the Sangamon County Coroner’s Office.
Coroner Cinda Edwards, Coroner believes 2014 has been a terrible year as far as heroin deaths were concerned and added that she does not know why there have been so many overdose deaths, despite the heroin used now being a lot purer than it used to be.
Parents and Guardians now Responsible for Under 21 Drunk Driving
In other news that could hopefully reduce the number of accidents, Springfield accident attorneys say that parents and guardians are liable from Jan. 1st to pay a fine of up to $2,000 if they allow anyone under 21 to drink in any vehicle they own. This includes all types of cars, trailers, campers, and boats. In case of any fatality, the parents or guardians can be charged with a felony.

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