January 2012 EFD Pulse

 9-1-1: Your Line for Help

By Todd Porthan, Fire Lieutenant

“9-1-1 Emergency” is heard by millions of people each year who call 9-1-1 when they need help. Education about calling 9-1-1 should start as early as preschool. In fact, the youngest person to call 9-1-1 was a 3-year-old boy who ended up saving his father’s life. Studies and statistics show that most people know little about and are not comfortable or quick to call 9-1-1.

When to call 9-1-1

9-1-1 is used for emergencies and when help is needed. An emergency is a situation in which you are uncomfortable, do not know what to do and cannot improve or resolve the situation immediately. This may seem broad or vague, but for good reason.

Every emergency is different. Emergencies can get worse without the correct course of action and any delay in response can significantly decrease the possibility of a good outcome. It is not wrong to call 9-1-1 first. It should be your first call before you call a doctor, neighbor or anyone else.

The ease of calling 9-1-1 has had some negative results. Many people call 9-1-1 for non-emergency uses. In a non-emergency, it is always best to call the police and fire non-emergency phone number when you need assistance. In Edina, the non-emergency number is 952-826-1610.

As with 9-1-1, emergency dispatchers answer this number 24 hours a day. This non-emergency number serves a very important role: it allows dispatchers to take emergency calls and provide the fastest service possible.

Edina dispatchers receive about 50,000 9-1-1 calls a year for both Edina and Golden Valley.

What happens when I call 9-1-1?

An emergency dispatcher is waiting and ready to help with your emergency and send assistance to your location. Try to be calm and concise, speak clearly and answer any question the dispatcher may ask. 

Do not assume dispatchers know where you are. Unlike landlines that display an address when calling 9-1-1, cell phones do not. Even with today’s technology, locating a cell phone caller’s location is not an exact science. The location may vary by a few feet or a few miles, so it is important to state the exact location and city from which you’re calling.

The 9-1-1 dispatcher will send the most appropriate responder, such as police, fire and/or ambulance to assist in your emergency. Dispatchers are trained to provide over-the-phone assistance to help for the best possible outcome prior to first responder arrival. In Edina, it is common to have two police officers, a fire truck and an ambulance respond to an emergency call.

Some 9-1-1 calls do not require emergency action. In many situations, police, fire and medical personnel will assist the caller over the phone with a course of action or options to resolve the problem.

No matter what course of action is taken, it is always best to call 9-1-1 as soon as possible. This will get you the fastest response with the best possible outcome.

For more information, call Edina’s nonemergency line at 952-826-1610.


A Word from the Cheif

By Edina Fire Cheif Marty Scheerer

The Edina Fire Department is excited to have two new pieces of equipment.

The department received a $14,000 LUCAS 2 chest compression device from Fairview Southdale Hospital in October. The donation was a result of a request from the Fire Department.

LUCAS 2 is an automated device that gives consistent, uninterrupted chest compressions to cardiac arrest victims. While manual compressions often become less effective as time passes, the LUCAS 2 device delivers 100 compressions per minute at a consistent 1.5- to 2-inch depth.

Manual compressions stop when moving a patient down stairs and through doorways. The LUCAS 2 device can give compressions for more than 45 consecutive minutes.

In addition, a new fire truck was put into service in December. The new truck shares the name “Engine 82” with the truck it replaced, but has many differences.

The new engine holds 750 gallons of water – 250 more than the old engine – which will add valuable minutes when fighting a fire. It also has a tighter turning radius, better braking, greater access to rescue equipment, better emergency lighting, improved crash safety and better fuel efficiency.

Since Edina’s firefighters are also trained paramedics, the new truck also offers interior EMS storage space to keep medications and equipment at proper temperatures.
The new Engine 82 was purchased for about $400,000, which is below the average price of a new fire truck. The truck was paid for out of the Capital Improvement Plan. The old Engine 82, purchased in 1986, will be sold.

We are grateful to be able to have both of these new, top-of-the-line pieces to better serve our community. In 2012, a new ambulance and small pumper will be purchased.

For more information, call the Edina Fire Department at 952-826-0330.


Fire Marshal's Corner

By Edina Fire Marshal Tom Jenson

Carbon monoxide (CO) can be a problem year-round, not just during Minnesota winters when families use furnaces and fireplaces to keep warm. However, incidents of CO poisoning increase during the heating season, so it’s important to take the necessary precautions to prevent yourself from falling ill to CO poisoning.

CO, a colorless, odorless gas, can be fatal at high concentrations. Everyday appliances that use natural gas produce it: ovens, stoves, clothes dryers, furnaces and water heaters. The potentially deadly gas can be found in every home and apartment.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), accidental CO poisoning causes 400 deaths per year in the United States. The New England Journal of Medicine estimates that CO poisoning results in more than 500,000 visits to hospital emergency rooms every year. People exposed to low levels of CO may experience headaches, nausea, confusion and dizziness. Those exposed to high levels, for even a short amount of time, may experience unconsciousness or death.

It is important to have your gas-burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year to ensure they are working properly. Don’t use your cooking oven to heat your home or use a barbeque grill inside your home or garage. In addition, CO can build quickly, so don’t run your vehicle inside your garage, even with the garage door open or for a short period of time.

A Minnesota statute states that every home, whether house or apartment, must have a working CO alarm properly installed within 10 feet of every bedroom. CO alarms are designed to sound if CO levels reach a dangerous amount. CO alarms are reasonably priced and can be purchased at almost every hardware store. They should be replaced every five years or if the unit no
longer works.

If you suspect that you or another member of your household are experiencing CO poisoning, leave the home immediately and seek fresh air. Call 9-1-1 from a cell phone or a neighbor’s phone, but only after evacuating the house. Do not return to the inside of the home until gas levels have been tested by the Edina Fire Department or a gas company and deemed to be at a safe level.

For more information, contact the Edina Fire Department, 952-826-0330.

Edina Fire Department

Station No. 1
6250 Tracy Ave.
Edina, MN 55436


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