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Mike Hepfler in fire station

Chippewa Falls Fire Chief Mike Hepfler explains what types of training can be done in the training tower at the new fire station in 2017. Hepfler and the Chippewa Falls Fire and Emergency Services Department will be gaining updated cardiac monitors through city and grant funding.

The Chippewa Falls Fire and Emergency Services Department has plans to upgrade equipment that Fire Chief Mike Hepfler said paramedics use on 90 percent of their medical calls.

With a vote Tuesday, April 3, the Chippewa Falls City Council has approved paying for the remaining $7,000 to $9,000 costs for two new cardiac monitoring machines. The department was awarded a $47,000 grant through the Wisconsin Department of Veteran’s Affairs to cover a majority of the cost, which could range between $54,000 to $56,000 for two monitors.

One monitor, Hepfler said, could cost anywhere between $27,000 to $28,000, depending on additional features.

While answering one of their estimated 3,000 calls per year, local paramedics use the monitors to check a patient’s heartrate, blood oxygen levels, carbon monoxide levels and blood pressure, kickstarting a patient’s care before entering a hospital

Bluetooth capabilities on the devices allow paramedics to communicate a patient’s outlook, heart rate and vital signs to a doctor or hospital while a patient is en route, Hepfler explained.

Bluetooth, Hepfler said, means the machines are not only beneficial to emergency responders while servicing the Chippewa Falls area but to the hospitals they transport to as well.

“If the patient would need surgery or something like that to correct a problem with the heart, they’ll diagnose it sooner,” Hepfler said. “It gives them a lead in.”

Hepfler added that Chippewa Falls Fire and Emergency Services Department paramedics also interpret the monitors to provide the best care they can to a patient while in the ambulance.

The department’s current monitors are a decade old, Hepfler said, and the company that services the current monitors the department has is no longer doing so. No additional training with the new monitors will be needed for paramedics, because the monitors are just an upgraded version of the ones used now.

While the addition of the new cardiac monitors is the only update the department has right now and in the near future, Hepfler said updating the monitors is part of a continuous process for updating patient care.

“We’re always looking to improve treatment by getting the most current equipment and keeping our equipment upgraded and preventative maintenance…” Hepfler said.

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