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Olean Common Council to replace fire department’s outdated heart monitors

OLEAN – “You won’t find too many people that are using 9-year-old computers.”

That was how Timothy Richardson, a city firefighter and EMT, explained the problem the city’s paid Fire Department has with the cardiac monitors they use now. The department uses two machines that are 9 years old and one that is 12 years old. That situation is about to be remedied.

The purchase of five machines will be made possible through $32,286.98 from two Fire Department budget lines, not to exceed $64,600.

Common Council President Ann McLaughlin said, “In our budget, we approved some funds. However, that is not enough. We were initially going to lease, but that carries interest. That was something we didn’t want to pay for. We looked into the line items with Chief [Robert] Bell and found some money that he wasn’t going to use. We decided that, instead of taking it from the contingency, we felt it was appropriate to take it directly from his line items.”

“Our cardiac monitors are aging,” Richardson told members of the Council.

“This would get us up to speed with what we are doing with cardiac care. It will make us more seamless with what we are doing with the hospital. Through the diagnostic testing, it goes along with what the hospital is doing.”

The older machines are not capable of offering the tests that the hospital needs to better treat some emergencies, such as cardiac arrest. Richardson said the new monitors will be able to monitor blood pressure and provide preliminary EKG reports for emergency physicians.

The new machines also will be able to monitor the amount of carbon dioxide the patient is exhaling to provide for better treatment in a cardiac event.

The monitors will be installed in the city’s ambulances, and automated external defibrillators will be placed on fire engines. While the monitors take measurements, it is the defibrillators that, in the case of a cardiac event, can guide a user to administer an electric shock to restart a heart.

Pricing on the machines, according to Richardson, is very competitive and is on the state bid system.

The machines also carry a five-year preventive maintenance plan and would be about half the weight of the existing units.