Public Safety and Affairs Committee Continues the Review of Public Safety Performance for the City of Elmhurst
The Public Safety and Affairs (PA & S) Committee continued their review of the City of Elmhurst’s public safety performance at their meeting on Monday, February 27. The committee reviewed the First Responder information presented by the City of Elmhurst’s Police Department.
Police Chief Michael Ruth provided a presentation on Police Department Response to Fire and EMS Incidents. The presentation included detailed information on deployment, call procedures and response times. When police officers are called to assist on incidents, their first responder duties can include protecting the paramedics, traffic assistance, detection and investigation of possible crime, and/or rendering first aid. Elmhurst Police dispatch their police cars through DuComm for assistance on several types of ambulance calls.
Elmhurst police officers are trained as basic first aid responders as part of their Police Academy training. CPR/AED/First Aid training continues throughout an officer’s career, with updates every two years for new developments such as the current training on Naloxone (Narcan) for opioid overdose treatment. Every police car is equipped with First Responder materials such as an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) and CPR mask (16 PD lives saved over the past 10 years), tourniquets, Trauma bandages, Narcan nasal spray, and a Mega-Mover patient transport stretcher. All equipment is checked daily to ensure that supplies are maintained.
In addition to ambulance calls, Elmhurst Police are occasionally dispatched for Fire response calls. Their role in assisting with Fire Department calls includes first at the scene assessment, traffic and crowd control, and criminal investigation of suspected crimes. Fire calls are considered an emergency, and the Police respond accordingly with lights and sirens.
The numbers of Police Department calls overall have increased in recent years due to an increase in Ambulance Assist calls. While the overall numbers between 2008 and 2016 have increased by approximately 500 calls, the overall impact of those calls is minimal and is only about an average of 7.012 calls per day (Fire – 2.30; Ambulance – 4.712; Total = 7.012).
Alderman Chris Healy asked the committee to consider how an aging population will impact city services. “As baby boomers continue to age and our ambulance response calls are increasing, how will our services change to meet an increase in demand for our changing demographics? What is the threshold for response procedural changes?” Healy asked.
The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) average recommended response time to emergency calls is 7 minutes. In the City of Elmhurst, the Ambulance/Fire response time is 3.5 minutes. On average, the Police Department is at the scene 30 seconds before Fire and/or ambulance on an assist call. One reason for the quicker response is that Police are typically out in the community, patrolling the City.
“The City of Elmhurst takes pride in their unified response from the Fire and Police Departments,” said Chief Ruth. “The Departments work together on unified responses for large-scale calls and training for potential disasters and emergencies,” the Chief explained.
Also at the February 27 meeting, the Fire Department briefed the Committee on their request from the February 13 meeting to have a blind comparison between communities. The Fire Department researched data from eight other communities in addition to Elmhurst using 2016 call data. Overall, Elmhurst is very consistent with other towns with respect to response times and calls. The Fire Department has the ability to analyze the information further and sought direction from the Committee. The Committee was interested in seeing the ambulance, mutual aid and fire response times broken down for Elmhurst calls. Using that data, they would like to understand the average response time compared to other communities’ EMS.
The next PA & S Committee Meeting is Monday, March 13, 2017 at 7 p.m. at City Hall. The Committee will continue its review of the City of Elmhurst’s public safety performance.