LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW) - The La Crosse Fire Department responds to fire calls, water and technical rescues, and haz-mat calls among others.
But they are also among the first on scene at medical emergencies.
In the last year the department has made improvements to the way they respond to medical calls.
Last year the La Crosse Fire Department had 5,000 total emergency calls, three-quarters of which were for medical emergencies, such as heart attacks, traumatic injuries, and respiratory problems. That's why the department added new medicine and treatment to their response.
La Crosse firefighters respond to an average of 10 medical calls a day.
EMS Trainer, Firefighter, and Paramedic Jim Hillcoat says medical calls can be the most time sensitive.
That's why the department added new medications and procedures.
All 84 La Crosse firefighters can now administer Narcan, a drug that helps reverse the effects of heroin or other narcotics.
They also have Glucagon, a shot given to a diabetic that has low blood sugar.
Another addition, what's called a CPAP, or Constant Positive Airway Pressure, that helps open your airway if you have congestive heart failure.
Another update the department made is to the way they give Epinephrine to people with allergic reactions.
Previously they had auto-injectors which would give the dose on contact. Those auto injectors cost $150 each and are only one dose.
Now the department uses draw-up Epinephrine that costs $2.50 for a vial that has three doses.
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