Tulsa Fire Department upgrades EMS response

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Updated: 11/16/2012 7:19 pm Published: 11/16/2012 10:40 am

Tulsans are now better protected in times of medical emergencies.

Not only is one of every six firefighters a paramedic but the Tulsa Fire Department announced it added three Advanced Life Support (ALS) systems to two stations on Friday.

Engines #21 near 31st & S. Yale, #19 near 56th Street North and Cincinnati and Ladder #27 near 31st & S. Garnett are now equipped to respond with enhanced ability to treat injuries and save lives.

That brings 19 ALS systems at 18 fire stations across Tulsa, with Ladder 27 now equipped with two ALS systems.

Engine 21 in Midtown Tulsa is the first centrally located TFD ALS station in Tulsa.

Equipment used to treat cardiac arrests near the 31st and S. Yale is vital because those types of calls are increasing in the area.

"This is the equipment they [paramedics] would use for advanced airway control,” said TFD EMS Director Michael Baker.

Patients who are in need of immediate help are on the rise in the new fire stations with ALS.

"Cardiac-related, seizures, patients with diabetes," said Baker.

The Broken Arrow Expressway is near Engine 21 where patients in car accidents need medication.

"We can begin all the way from the time 911 is called it it's not just ‘wait until you get to the hospital and we will see what happens.’ We are speeding up the process of care,” said Baker.

Medical emergencies are increasing in certain areas of Tulsa.

Tulsans in some neighborhoods are growing older and there’s been a rise in diabetic patients.

"Cardiac arrest, chest pains patients, respiratory patients, seizure strokes and trauma," said Baker.

TFD reports the latest numbers show in 2010, survival rates among cardiac arrest patients TFD treated is at 42% in Tulsa. They believe that number is higher now and in the top five across.
“Anything that is life threatening will trigger the fire department to respond," said TFD Chief Ray Driskell.

TFD is staffed with EMT’s too and now more than half of Tulsa fire stations have paramedics on staff.

"You have a two-year-paramedic who can show up on the scene that has good interpretive skills they can use these few little tools to make sure you are treating them effectively,” said Baker.

Baker said depending on demographics, the next stations to be equipped with ALS will depend on the medical needs in your neighborhood.

TFD said the Advanced Life Support systems did not cost the City. Instead, they were purchased with grant money.

EMSA will still respond to the same call and if needed will transport the patient to the hospital.

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of KOKI FOX23 - Tulsa

Jimmy - 11/16/2012 7:06 PM
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This is just another reason why people in Tulsa are fortunate enough to have one of the best emergency response systems in the country. When medical and fire response can work together it is win win for the people they serve.
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