City of Elmhurst Public Affairs and Safety Committee discusses advanced life support fire apparatus
Elmhurst Public Affairs and Safety Committee met Monday, March 13.
Here are the minutes as provided by the committee:
Public Affairs & Safety Committee
Monday, March 13, 2017
209 N. York St.
Elmhurst, IL 60126
Conference Rm #4
Chris Healy, Chairman
**REVISED AGENDA** THE REVISION IS THE DELETION OF "F. Extended Liquor Hours Discussion"
Public Affairs and Safety Committee
Monday, March 13, 2017
Generated by Michael McLean, Deputy Chief of Police
1. Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m.
Committee: Chairman Chris Healy, Alderman Polomsky, Alderman Leader
Elected Officials: Mayor Morley, Alderman Deuter, Alderman Bram (Item E)
Staff: City Manager James Grabowski (Item E), Temp. Communications Member Clare O’Shea, Police Chief Michael Ruth, Fire Chief Thomas Freeman, Deputy Chief of Police Michael McLean, Deputy Fire Chief William Anaszewicz
Guests: John Scudder, Williams Shanklin, Ernest Iannotta, Geoff Gaebel, Ed Siuzdak, Steve Wroble, Ted Beskow, Michelle Padula, Tina Park, Kim Godder, Kathleen Hillsman, Steve Hillsman, Gray Megan
2. Business before the Committee
A. Immaculate Conception Grade School 1st Annual Alumni Reunion
Event organizer Kathleen Hillsman briefed the Committee on the request to hold this event at the Knights of Columbus Hall on June 2, 2017, as well as utilize the municipal parking lot to the rear for the staging of two to three food trucks. Police and Fire Departments had no public safety concerns related to the event and indicated they would work with the organizer to plan the event layout. Committee report recommending approval of the event signed.
B. Knights of Columbus 3rd Annual Car Show
Event organizer Ernest Iannotta from the Knights of Columbus briefed the Committee on the request to hold a classic car show in the municipal parking lot at York and Vallette on June 25, 2017. Police and Fire Departments had no public safety concerns related to the event and indicated they would work with the organizer to plan the event layout. Committee report recommending approval of the event signed.
C. American Legion Grant – Discussion
Chairman Healy indicated this item will be on the next Committee agenda and asked that any issues that require further discussion be brought forward. American Legion officers John Scudder and William Shanklin were present to respond to questions. Alderman Polomsky asked if the post planned any future changes or new goals. Mr. Shanklin indicated that if the funds were granted, they plan on increasing public awareness, community involvement, and visibility of the legion. He indicated there was a lot of enthusiasm and new ideas among their membership to attain these goals. John Scudder related the legion post will market itself to recruit new members. They plan to work with local colleges and VA hospitals to reach outside their walls for membership. Scudder related there were future plans to remodel the Normandy room and the building front sign. Alderman Polomsky asked Scudder to give a future presentation on the services the Legion offers to veterans. Chairman Healy indicated his desire to complete a Committee report at the next Committee meeting.
D. Replacement of Police Vehicle PD 2
Chief Ruth briefed the Committee on the replacement of police supervisor vehicle PD 2. Chief Ruth indicated PD 2 has reached its replacement date and was scheduled and budgeted for changeover. PD 2 is to be traded-in and the competitive bid of the Suburban Purchasing Cooperative for a 2017 Chevrolet Police Utility Interceptor purchase has been obtained. Alderman Polomsky asked if the vehicle purchase was tax exempt and Chief Ruth indicated it was. Committee Report approving replacement of PD 2 signed.
E. ALS Fire Apparatus – Continued Discussion
Chairman Healy indicated that Fire Chief Freeman would present information in response to questions posed at past Committee hearings and discuss several proposed options for the future provision of EMS services in Elmhurst. Chief Freeman related that he has met with both Elmhurst Hospital and Good Samaritan Hospital to discuss current and future levels of EMS care. Both medical staffs indicated Elmhurst currently has a good EMS system and they have no complaints. They also indicated they were supportive of any future efforts to quicken the medical intervention and shorten the hospital transport process to improve patient outcomes. Chief Freeman briefed the Committee on three options that he has researched: the implementation of advanced life support (ALS) fire engines at each fire station, the addition of a third ambulance, or establishment of ALS rapid response vehicles. Chief Freeman indicated that in any option, new paramedics would have to complete testing and be entered into the Region 8 EMS system. Chief Freeman referred the Committee to his memorandum presented at the meeting.
Chief Freeman related that EMS duties are to intervene, treat, and transport while minimizing time on the street as arrival to the hospital is critical. Currently the fire department EMS arrival time meets or exceeds expectations, though approximately 28% of the time a fire company arrives to an EMS call prior to the ambulance due to various reasons. Chief Freeman explained that 71% of fire department calls to DuComm are EMS calls and as the population ages, this EMS demand is expected to rise. Fire suppression calls have remained flat.
Chairman Healy then asked Chief Freeman to detail the three options. Chief Freeman first detailed the implementation of the ALS fire engine option at both fire stations. Chief Freeman indicated that currently the fire department arrives with ALS to EMS calls within the standard response time 97% of the time. These three options are to address the remaining 3%. The first option would be to staff one piece of fire apparatus at each fire station with ALS medics and equipment. Chief Freeman indicated this would require recertification, training, new equipment and medications. Chief Freeman indicated this would require a 100% commitment by the department, all of the time. Initial costs would be approximately $75,000. Chairman Healy asked what would happen if there were an ALS firefighter sick call. Chief Freeman indicated there are provisions for that, but the absence would have to be covered. Chairman Healy asked if keeping EMS at current level were an option. Chief Freeman indicated it was, but this is an opportunity for the department to go from good to great. Chief Freeman detailed that ALS fire engines would require lockable cabinets for the drugs and medical equipment. The responses would not change as fire engines already respond to EMS calls. Chief Freeman indicated that currently 13 to 14 Elmhurst firefighters were medics and could be certified to support the ALS engine concept. Further, new firefighters would have to be hired as paramedics to continue the program. Chairman Healy asked if there had been conversations with the firefighters union on this. Chief Freeman explained that he has had conversations with the union executive board and they are aware concessions may need to be made. Further he has explained his determination that this should be a 100% time coverage commitment that may affect shift trades, sick calls, etc. Chairman Healy asked if there were mutual aid ramifications for ALS engines and Chief Freeman said he did not see any. ALS engines would provide care while awaiting an ambulance to arrive.
Chief Freeman then discussed the second option, adding a third ambulance to the City, placed at one of the two fire stations. Chief Freeman related his research showed that if the City purchased, equipped, and staffed its own ambulance the cost would be approximately one million dollars. Chairman Healy asked if a third ambulance was needed, would Superior Ambulance provide one instead. Chief Freeman indicated they would and with a third Superior ambulance, staffed by their medics, the additional yearly budget costs after the applied rebates would be approximately $150,000. Mayor Morley asked if a third ambulance would be subject to calls out of Elmhurst. Chief Freeman indicated that it would be subject to more mutual aid calls. Chief Freeman indicated an ambulance can transport patients while the other two options cannot. Chairman Healy asked if there were anything that precludes the City from putting a Superior paramedic on a City fire engine. Chief Freeman indicated there were no regulations precluding that. Services provided by a transporting ambulance are billable, but service provided by an ALS engine or ALS response vehicle are not due to state law.
Chief Freeman then detailed the third option, obtaining ALS rapid response vehicles staffed by paramedics at one or both fire stations. The cost for one rapid response unit would be $165,000 and two would be $370,000. Chief Freeman related ALS rapid response vehicles are SUV type vehicles with a paramedic onboard that responds to EMS calls and can provide ALS medical services, but cannot transport a patient to the hospital. They can also perform non-emergency type calls. Alderman Polomsky asked how this would work. Chief Freeman related this vehicle would respond to an EMS call and provide medical intervention until an ambulance arrives and transports. This vehicle would rapidly free up after its calls as it cannot transport. Alderman Polomsky asked if the care provided by an ALS engine and an ALS rapid response vehicle was equal and Chief Freeman indicated the care was equivalent. Alderman Polomsky asked if any of the response time data was affected by the change of location of Elmhurst Hospital several years ago. Chief Freeman and Deputy Chief Anaszewicz indicated that once a patient is stabilized on the scene, the location change was not pertinent. Chairman Healy asked if any other towns had rapid response vehicles. Chief Freeman indicated Naperville FD does and the units stay within their fire district. Mayor Morley asked if the rapid response vehicle would respond to and cover an Elmhurst fire station whose ambulance was deployed. Chief Freeman indicated it would. Further, Elmhurst could set up a depletion policy that would ensure the vehicle remained within the City. Chairman Healy indicated he believed in assisting Elmhurst’s neighbors, but he did not want to see our mutual aid ratio increase beyond its current 2:1 level.
Mayor Morley asked if fire apparatus ever deploys without a DuComm call. Chief Freeman indicated that if the fire company observes an incident while in travel, they could deploy. Chief Freeman related he made a recent change to EFD response to invalid assist calls. If DuComm screens the call as solely a request for assistance getting up, not a medical issue, a fire engine company now responds, thereby keeping the ambulance available. Mayor Morley asked if all three options address the 3% equally. Chief Freeman said all would address the majority; however there would occasionally be fourth medic requests that require mutual aid. Mayor Morley asked if the 3% ambulance calls occurred during peak times and Chief Freeman indicated they do. Mayor Morley indicated that all three options were good and have their benefits. Alderman Bram inquired if it would be a better investment for the City to repurpose a city vehicle as a rapid response vehicle, instead of it being supplied by Superior. Chief Freeman indicated his preference for leasing these vehicles instead of owning them due to wear and tear and availability such as no down time for maintanence. Chairman Healy thanked Chief Freeman and Deputy Chief Anaszewicz for the comprehensive report and asked staff to make a recommendation on the ALS options with a draft report for review at the next Committee meeting.
3. Public Comments
Steve Wroble spoke in favor of ALS fire companies for the Elmhurst Fire Department.
Geoff Gaebel spoke about the importance of having advanced life support (ALS) fire engines and trucks in Elmhurst.
4. Other Business
Meeting adjourned at 9:03 p.m.
Organizations in this Story
209 N York St
Elmhurst, IL 60126-2717