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What's New at the Purdue Fire Department
August 2010: Purdue fire chief receives top Indiana honor
Purdue fire Chief Kevin Ply, whose message of fire prevention education and safety has reached thousands of students at the university and at colleges throughout the United States, has been named Indiana Fire Chief of the Year.
Ply was honored Friday (Aug. 13) night at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Indianapolis during an awards banquet of the Indiana Emergency Response Conference.
Typically, Ply said, award finalists are told in advance that they might receive an honor to make sure they attend the event. However, Ply is on the board of directors for the Indiana Fire Chiefs Association and was to be at the banquet, so he was not told he might be honored.
"I was sitting there with my wife and other directors and then I heard the emcee say something about Purdue, which kind of caught my attention," he said. "As she went on, it became clear that she was talking about me. At that point, I was pretty much numb. I was shocked.
"But this award is not just me. It's our whole department. The last few years, we've been trying to reach out to other departments and really become involved in fire prevention. Since 2000, about 140 college students across the country have died in fires while they were away at school, and every one of those fires was preventable. So, one of my goals when I became fire chief was to get the message out to students to think about safety, and we're getting people to participate in classrooms, residence halls and online."
Ply has been with Purdue's fire department since 1989 and became chief in 2007. Under his direction, the department developed a fire safety outreach program for students. Lt. John Guerra regularly speaks and shows video in classrooms, residence halls, and fraternities and sororities.
Ply also helped develop content for the online fire prevention training video "To Hell and Back: The College Years," which was produced in 2008 by the People's Burn Foundation and is seen by college students across the country. The training video is updated regularly, and footage for the newest installment was filmed at Purdue. Students can go online to http://igot2kno.org to participate in the training.
He spoke about the video program in late July at the Vision 20/20 Model Performance in Fire Prevention Symposium in Baltimore and also did a presentation in March at the Campus Fire Safety and Risk Management Conference in Columbus, Ohio.
"This is a well-deserved honor for Chief Ply, and it's also great recognition for the department," said Carol Shelby, Purdue's senior director of environmental health and public safety. "Fire prevention and awareness is a very important part of our overall campus safety program, and we're very proud of the initiative Kevin and his staff have taken in delivering the message."
His award is for chiefs on career - or paid - fire departments. Volunteer departments were honored in a separate category.
April 2010: Purdue University Fire Department Swears-In New Firefighter/Paramedic
Blair Blanch is a firefighter/paramedic who was sworn in as the newest member of the Purdue University Fire Department on April 13, 2010. Blair comes to Purdue University with six years of working experience as a National Registered Paramedic and Firefighter I/II from Howard County and Clinton County EMS. In his spare time, Blair enjoys traveling with his wife, Laura, and his two-year old son, Nicholas. He also enjoys playing the drums and restoring vintage corvettes, hotrods, and muscle cars. Purdue Fire is excited to have Blair join the team.
August 2009: New Medic 18 Ambulences
Nearly 10 years ago, Purdue University Fire Department made a transition and commitment to provide the highest level of advanced life support (ALS) for the Purdue community. Today, with the increase volume in medical calls, Purdue University still provides this important life- saving services to the Purdue community with two ALS ambulances.
Purdue University Fire Department just purchased a new state-of-the-art ambulance. A 2009 Marque Ambulance was delivered a few weeks ago from its factory in Elkhart, Indiana. This new ambulance was built on a Chevy C4500 chassis and is equipped with a V-Mux Electronic System. This will allow the Paramedics & EMT's the ability to activate any function of the ambulance system with the quick touch of a button. In addition, for the protection and safety of everyone, several new safety features were added including, back-up cameras, an integrated child safety seat, and improved rider safety seating. Purdue Fire is excited on the new arrival. This new ambulance is replacing the 1997 Ford, Medic 18 ambulance.
June 2009: New Firefighter Sworn In
Ephina Moore was sworn in as a new firefighter on June 8, 2009. Ephina previously worked as a dispatcher with the Purdue University Police Department.
Summer 2009: Fire Department Purchases New Cardiac Monitors
The Purdue Fire Department recently purchased four new heart monitor/defibrillators. After reviewing several monitors currently available and completing the bid process, the HeartStart MRx from Philips was chosen. The MRx is a lightweight, portable unit that provides four modes of operation: Monitor, Manual Defibrillation, AED, and Pacemaker.
The monitoring mode has the capability to look at multiple electrical views of the heart and show the respiratory efforts and oxygen saturation. It has a 12 Lead EKG function that allows the paramedic to preview, acquire, store, print and transmit the 12 leads to the local hospitals. This allows the hospital staff to prepare for the incoming cardiac patient. Therefore, the patient would receive definitive care sooner, saving heart muscle. Time is Muscle.
The manual defibrillator/AED modes will allow both basic life support and advanced life support responders to use the unit without disruption in the patient's care. This Unit gives a brief biphasic pulse of electricity through the multifunctional pads that are applied to the patient's chest. Through these pads the paramedic is able to send a paced pulse to the patient's heart when it is too slow or not beating in a rhythmic motion.
The MRx does have capability to be upgraded with software and additional monitoring functions as technology advances. These monitors are valuable pieces of equipment that has been added to our inventory.