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REGIONAL AGREEMENT FINALIZED FOR ADVANCED LIFE SUPPORT

For more information contact:

Joanne Haas, Office of the County Executive 267-8823 or cell 669-5605
George Twigg, Office of the Mayor 266-4611
J. McLellan, Dane County Dept. of Emergency Management, 267-2542

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 7/25/2006

Issued By: County Executive
View only releases from County Executive
A paramedic pilot project credited for reaching a 12-year-old boy before he could make good on a suicide try and talking a wife through cardio-pulmonary resuscitation of her collapsed husband has been signed by leaders and emergency medical service officials of several Madison-area communities which agree to ignore municipal borders to get the fastest ambulance response possible to any life-threatening emergency.

"Today we recognize the true community spirit of these municipal partners who put aside political boundaries to agree to a policy that is all about serving our constituents and saving lives," Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk said during a news conference about the Advanced Life Support Intergovernmental Agreement of Dane County. "This multi-jurisdictional, regional policy is an example of how the public wins when their governments cooperate and share resources. We all came together on behalf of the people."

The agreement authorizes the Dane County Public Safety Communications (911) Center to dispatch the closest available ALS-equipped ambulance to a life-threatening emergency regardless of location. It has been signed by chief elected officials of Dane County, the cities of Madison, Middleton, Sun Prairie, Town of Madison along with the City of Madison Fire Department, City of Middleton Emergency Medical Service, the Town of Madison Fire and Emergency Medical Service, the Sun Prairie Emergency Medical Service, and the Fitch-Rona Emergency Medical Service. Falk signed the agreement on April 7, 2006.

"This agreement ensures that a person with a medical emergency is served by the closest ambulance, regardless of what community’s name is on the side of that ambulance," Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz said. "This regional collaboration will save lives, and potentially reduce the duplication of services, which would also save money."

Dane County and the City of Madison helped to fund enhanced technology to equip each Advanced Life Support ambulance with a radio that transmits a tracking signal back to the 911 Center so dispatchers know the unit’s location at all times while in service.

Another key feature is the use of the Priority Medical Dispatch by the 911 Center dispatchers who ask a series of specific questions of callers to determine the urgency and level of care needed for the emergency.

Dr. Paul Stiegler, medical director of the Dane County Emergency Medical Services, lauded the agreement. "This is a concept that has been a long time coming to fruition," he said. "It is a giant step forward in getting the highest level of emergency care to the right patient at the right time."

While it is impossible to say for certain the program saved lives during its initial 2004 test-run, Falk said it is equally impossible to ignore the success stories that led to its continued practice until the recent inking of the deal.

"Take the case of the 12-year-old boy who had hung himself at a City of Madison location. The Fitch-Rona EMS was sent as the closest ALS unit," Falk said, citing cases listed in the 2005 analysis report of the 2004 pilot project. "The boy was resuscitated and taken to the hospital where he recovered."

The case of the wife of the 57-year-old male who collapsed during a heart attack is a textbook illustration of how the new system can work. The man’s wife called 911, and was given instructions how to administer cardio-pulmonary resuscitation until a Marshall police officer arrived, followed by emergency medical crews including a City of Madison ALS ambulance. The patient made a full recovery.

The pilot also showed that several minutes had been cut from the time that previously had been needed for a unit with the Advance Life Support equipment to arrive on the scene.

Falk said the success of this pilot-to-codified policy serves as fuel for additional regional efforts. The next analysis of the system is due in roughly six months -- or at the start of 2007. "We can do more and we will."

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