Duluth firefighters able to measure people's CO levelsDuluth firefighters have four new pulse oximeters, equipment they say will save time and money on emergency calls.
By: Beth Jett, Fox 21 News
Duluth firefighters have four new pulse oximeters, equipment they say will save time and money on emergency calls.
“What this does is actually measure the percentage of carbon monoxide in a patient’s blood,” firefighter Lisa Consie said.
Such equipment wasn’t available to emergency crews at a dangerous poisoning in the Central Hillside in September 2008. A pregnant woman and her six children were overcome by carbon monoxide in a home on East Fourth Street, their bodies starved for oxygen.
“I was on that call with the family and frustrated on scene that we couldn’t do anything or do more,” Consie said.
Crews couldn’t tell how badly the family was affected. With the pulse oximeters, they’ll know in 20 seconds.
The idea is to get victims treatment faster or avoid an unnecessary trip to the emergency room if no damage has been done. Firefighters also can check their own health after being exposed to carbon monoxide.
A 2009 Assistance to Firefighters Grant paid 80 percent of the nearly $22,000 cost of the devices. Duluth paid 20 percent, or $4,328.
Another piece of equipment to come from the AFG was a video conferencing system that allows fire stations to connect.
“It reduces the amount of travel time and the amount of fuel our companies have to use when they come to headquarters for training,” department training chief Charlie Smith said.
He said Duluth paid $46,078 for the $230,000 equipment because of a 2008 grant.
Now, firefighters can stay at their stations, able to respond to emergencies quicker, while receiving twice as much training.
The Fire Department has been using the oximeters for the past two months and the conferencing system since December.