Council Hears Debate On Expanding Life-Saving Services to Peoria Fire Houses

Mar 15, 2017

The Peoria City Council is exploring options for adding advanced life support services at more of its firehouses.

The Peoria Fire Department currently provides advanced life support, also known as ALS, service at three of its twelve firehouses. ALS is a set of life-saving procedures that extend Basic Life Support to further support circulation and provide an open airway, such as intubation.

All other houses offer basic life support.  The city fire department hopes to add ALS on a pilot basis at House 19.

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The man authorized to approve such a pilot, Dr. Matt Jackson, who told council Tues. evening, the area doesn’t merit the experiment. But Councilman Jim Montelongo believes one person should not have such authority.

“I almost felt like this was his final word, closed book, no more discussion because he’s the person in charge,” Montelongo said. “I disagree with that whole concept, and if we need to change the system, then we need to do that.”

Peoria City manager Patrick Urich had a slightly different interpretation of Dr. Jackson’s remarks to the council. Urich says he felt Dr. Jackson was open to further evaluation of firehouse 19 services.

“There may be areas where he might want to revisit the level of service we’re looking at, specifically within the engine 19 area,” Urich said.

Firehouse 19 serves Peoria’s Northwest edge.

“I can tell you based on current resources in that area, I do not see a current need for it,” Jackson said.

Several council members and EMT’s, who spoke during the public comment period, say they feel expanded life support services is necessary because firefighters typically arrive at life support calls before an ambulance does.