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Feds fund new emergency gear

Grant buys 40 sophisticated portable defibrillators for use by local firefighters.

March 04, 2011|By Veronica Rocha, veronica.rocha@latimes.com

GLENDALE — Four fire departments, including those in Burbank and Glendale, will share in a $1.14-million federal grant to purchase new life-saving defibrillators, allowing emergency personnel to provide more specialized care in the field, official said. Pasadena and Arcadia also will receive a portion of the funding. And Monterey Park Fire Department was awarded a separate $92,370 grant to replace its older-model defibrillators. Glendale Fire Chief Harold Scoggins said a lack of funding has made it impossible to purchase the new equipment until now. The availability of the grant now was a key issue in replacing some of the department’s 12-year-old devices. The grant, he said, has made it possible to buy new devices within the next year. The defibrillators ¿¿¿ 25 for Glendale, 15 for Burbank ¿¿¿ are used in certain types of heart attacks to deliver therapeutic electrical shocks to the heart muscle. They also double as sophisticated heart and carbon monoxide monitors. The high-tech tools allow firefighters and paramedics to provide hospitals with more details on heart-attack patients before they arrive at the emergency room, fire officials said, giving physicians more time to prepare. The new devices also can also be used to check a firefighter¿¿¿s level of exposure to carbon monoxide during a fire. Firefighters said the devices are simpler to use than the older type, which could speed up patient care. “The new units will allow Burbank Fire paramedics to continue to provide the citizens of Burbank with the highest standard of pre-hospital care in the emergency medical services field,” Burbank Fire Capt. Ron Bell said in an e-mail. The defibrillators cost about $24,000 each, far less expensive than the $45,000 cost of older-models, fire officials said. Replacing the old monitoring devices will also allow fire departments in the mutual-aid area to better cooperate with other departments in the region that have similar equipment, officials said. ¿¿¿Keeping our first responders on the job and well-equipped is critical to protecting our communities,¿¿¿ said Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) in a statement. ¿¿¿This important funding will ease budget burdens by allowing the Glendale and Monterey Park fire departments to purchase critical equipment they would not otherwise be able to afford.¿¿¿

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