sealPurdue News

March 7, 2003

Purdue Fire Department offers advanced life support

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The Purdue University Fire Department today (Friday, 3/7) announced that its personnel have been certified by the state to provide the highest level of emergency medical care – advanced life support.

Purdue fire and rescue personnel now will be able to provide medications on the ambulance and out in the field that up until now could only be administered in the emergency rooms.

"We have been researching the idea of offering the service for years," said Kenneth E. Alling, chief of the fire department. "This process to become an advanced life support provider really started about two years ago. It's a pretty rigorous process. This accomplishment also just happens to coincide with the department's 40-year anniversary."

Alling said the upgraded service could result in some patients not having to be transported to the emergency room and will provide better pain management while en-route to local medical facilities, should that be required.

"This is the highest of prehospital care allowed by the state of Indiana," Alling said.

Greater Lafayette Health Services, the department's state-required sponsoring facility, allows fire department personnel to utilize its continued education classes. Alling said most of the department's continuing education is conducted in-house.

Dr. Chris Brandenburg will serve as the department's medical director in cooperation with Tippecanoe Emergency Ambulance Service.

"He oversees the medical direction and medical training of our service," Alling said. "Scott Wood, director of the emergency ambulance service, has been very helpful in answering questions as we have progressed to this level of medical care."

Purdue's fire department provides emergency medical services to the university community and also to any visitors and residents of Tippecanoe County.

"Ten percent of our annual ambulance runs are to assist the county when they are out of ambulances," Alling said. "Although our primary purpose is to provide these services to the university community, we have mutual aid agreements with the local agencies. Being west of the Wabash River provides a sense of security to the residents that make their homes in this particular area of the county. We don't restrict our service to the west, as we have made ambulance runs to the far north, east and south parts of the county as well."

The new designation means all of the department's vehicles and equipment will now be equipped with medical supplies, including automatic defibrillators, which will allow the department to be first responders on medical emergency calls when the department's two ambulances are out of the station.

Purdue fire department provides fire protection, hazardous material response, emergency medical services and basic education classes to the community in the areas of fire safety and first aid. All Purdue firefighters are state certified, trained to handle hazardous material emergencies and act as emergency medical technicians. Personnel are trained as paramedics, which is required to provide advanced life support services.

Writer: Grant Flora, (765) 494-2073,

Source: Kenneth E. Alling, (765) 494-6910

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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