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The Peoria Fire Department announced Friday that Fire Engine 4 has been granted approval to upgrade from a basic life support unit to an advanced life support medical response unit.
The upgrade means the truck now can hold 24 different medications, up from the previous seven allowed, establish IV access and perform treatment that can show a more in-depth look at a heart. The truck also could soon be allowed to transport patients to the hospital.
"It's definitely going to be a huge lifesaver," Local 50 EMS Committee Chairman Josh Martin said.
Martin was joined by Peoria fire Chief Kent Tomblin, Advanced Medical Transport CEO Andrew Rand and division chief Phillip Maclin in making the announcement before media and the public Friday afternoon. Mayor Jim Ardis also was in attendance.
By expanding the tools and medicines available to paramedics on the truck, it is expected first responders will be more adept at handling cases of strokes, heart attacks and gunshot victims on-scene while waiting for an ambulance to take the patient to the hospital.
Martin said the truck has been operating as an advanced life support vehicle for about a week, and in the first two days of ALS service already had responded to 15 such calls.
"This is a high call volume area," he said. "I believe Engine 4 runs the second most amount of calls in the city, so it's definitely going to be used. It's going to save lives."