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City of Lincoln
Mayor's Department
Citizen Information Center Division
Media Release


December 28, 2000
For More Information Contact:
Diane Gonzolas, Citizen Information Center, 441-7831
Mike Spadt, Fire Chief, 441-8350 Bill Madison, Deputy Chief of EMS, 441-8371 Julie Righter, 911 Center Manger, 441-7252

Fire Department Ready For Ambulance Transition

911 Center ready to dispatch; state of the art defibrillators to be used

Lincoln Mayor Don Wesely said today that the Lincoln Fire Department has completed all preparations to assume ambulance service at 12:01 a.m. January 1, 2001. Personnel are trained and ready, and the 11 rental ambulance vehicles which arrived last week have been equipped, stocked with supplies and assigned to fire stations throughout the city.

"The professional men and women of the Lincoln Fire Department have done an outstanding j ob preparing for this new responsibility," said Mayor Wesely. "In addition, many dedicated members of our community have worked very hard to assure a smooth transition to this new ambulance system."

Independent medical oversight of the ambulance service will continue under the direction of EMS, Inc., and Wesely thanked the doctors and hospitals who have assisted with the transitional planning.

All ambulances will be staffed with one paramedic and one emergency medical technician. Fire Chief Mike Spadt said experienced employees in the department have been trained and re-assigned to staff the ambulance vehicles. New employees have completed their training as firefighters and ambulance transfer teams. Supporting personnel in the EMS, dispatch, administrative, training and maintenance divisions have been hired and trained to support field operations.

Wesely said the Lincoln 911 Center has also completed its preparation to assume responsibility for dispatching Fire Department ambulance vehicles. The 911 Center had performed all ambulance dispatching until January of 1999, when the function was split between the 911 Center and the private ambulance services dispatch center.

"It is anticipated that by consolidating ambulance dispatching into a single location, requests for ambulance service will be handled in a much smoother and efficient manner," said Julie Righter, 911 Center Manager.

Agreements have been reached with jurisdictions in Lancaster County to provide uninterrupted service to the entire Lincoln 911 service area.

The Lincoln Fire Department also announced today that the defibrillators used by the department to treat cardiac arrest patients will be new state of the art models. The 32 new defibrillators are expected to arrive today and will replace the current models, which have been used about two-and-a-half years.

Defibrillators monitor heart rhythm, use electrical current to shock certain heart rhythms to restart the heart and serve as external cardiac pacemakers. The new "biphasic" defibrillators reverse the direction of electrical current flow midway through the energy cycle, and positive results have been reported.

The Lincoln Fire Department consulted local physicians in deciding whether to use the new technology, which has been extensively researched. The department will keep statistics on the performance and effectiveness of the new defibrillators.

Mayor's Citizen's Information Center Media Releases