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City of Burlington Fire Department partners with Flight for Life
City of Burlington

City of Burlington Fire Department partners with Flight for Life

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BURLINGTON — When the City of Burlington Fire Department would receive a call for emergency medical services that exceeded its capabilities, other neighboring departments were called to assist and provide aid to ensure that patients received proper care.

“The challenge with this process is that we are reliant upon other municipalities’ availability to provide service to our citizens, which can result in a delay for our most critical patients,” said city Fire Chief Alan Babe, in a statement to the City Council.

A new partnership with Flight for Life will provide the Fire Department with an in-house solution to help solve this issue, Babe said.

The Fire Department will be able to keep its ambulances in their assigned service area by utilizing Flight for Life ground ambulances for long-distance transports. This will increase the amount of time Fire Department ambulances are available to run calls leading to additional revenue from patient ambulance billing, according to the statement.

The proposal was discussed at the May 5 meeting of the City Council’s Committee of the Whole and was was approved by the full council at its meeting on Tuesday.

‘A welcomed addition’

On Jan. 1, the City of Burlington assumed emergency medical services for the city and Town of Burlington after the dissolution of the Burlington Rescue Squad, which provided ambulance service to the community for nearly three quarters of a century. However, the city’s Fire Department personnel could only practice at their current state license level of Advanced Emergency Medical Technician, which is not a paramedic level service.

Flight for Life has been a partner and provider of air medical services in the City of Burlington and region for more than 35 years. The Fire Department and Aurora Medical Center-Burlington both utilize the Flight For Life air crews to assist in treating the most critically ill and injured people. The Flight for Life ground ambulances utilize the same medical oversight and protocols that the air crews utilize.

“Flight for Life is a well-respected provider of high-level medical services and would be a welcomed addition to the CBFD EMS team,” Babe said.

Both agencies proposed that Flight for Life relocate one of their road ambulances to the city firehouse at 165 W. Washington St. Flight for Life will continue to provide service to other local communities with the only difference is that they will be based in the Burlington fire station.

Having the Flight for Life teams located in-house will also provide the opportunity for the Flight for Life crews to assist in the training of existing and new city EMTs.

The Fire Department will retain the ability to generate EMS revenue while increasing services. The Fire Department can utilize Flight for Life to complete long-distance transports to reduce time that city units are outside of their service area.

There are no upfront costs associated with this partnership. When Flight for Life is called in to provide service, Flight for Life will bill patients for transport service. The space at the city firehouse that was previously occupied by the Burlington Rescue Squad will serve as the office space assigned to Flight for Life, according to the statement.

Flight for Life is responsible for providing its crew members with the equipment necessary to provide their services. The Fire Department will also save costs in future training. Flight for Life can train in areas that the department would previously need to seek third party assistance, for little to no cost to the department.

Alan Babe

Babe

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