When Eastport Volunteer Fire Company president Al Kirchner called to discuss the agenda for his monthly meeting with Annapolis Fire Chief David Stokes, the Chief mentioned that the volunteers needed to start thinking about upgrading the cardiac monitor/defibrillator on the medic unit they own. Mr. Kirchner promptly replied, “OK, let’s just do it!”, thinking that the new piece of gear would cost about $3 thousand. The next day as the two men spoke over lunch, Kirchner recalls that just after taking a big bite out of his barbeque sandwich, Stokes mentioned that the new monitor/defibrillator would cost $40 thousand. “I almost choked!”, said Kirchner, “I couldn’t imagine how something that small could cost so much. That’s when I asked Chief Stokes if this thing came in a blue Tiffany & Co. box?”
As discussions ensued, it became clear that the new LifePak-15 would be a huge improvement and was identical to what the city and county medic units would be transitioning to—there was no doubt that Eastport’s volunteers would need to do this.
With help from Annapolis Fire Department’s Deputy Chief Doug Remaley, the Eastport volunteers were able to purchase the cardiac monitor/defibrillator through the Maryland State Supply Schedule for $29 thousand, a sizeable saving but still an enormous amount of money.
After Eastport’s members wrung their hands over how they could afford to pay for the monitor, Kirchner went back to Chiefs Stokes and Remaley to ask them to help Eastport Fire Co. obtain state grant funds to lessen the burden on the volunteer’s finances. In the end, Eastport Volunteer Fire Company was able to get $15 thousand in grant funds and used $14 thousand from community donations to purchase the unit being put into service today. President Kirchner thanked Eastport’s citizens, civic groups and businesses for their unwavering support for the fire company’s project. “This accomplishment today belongs to the generous people in our community who helped pay for it,” Kirchner said.
According to Annapolis Fire Chief David Stokes, adding this state-of-the-art technology to Eastport’s medic unit “lets the Annapolis Fire Department paramedics who staff the unit, make a quantum leap forward in the delivery of cardiac emergency care. In addition to its full 12-lead EKG transmission, oxygen saturation monitoring and non-invasive blood pressure monitoring capabilities, the LifePak-15 has dozens of new features and technical enhancements that will improve the entire spectrum of emergency care, from the incident scene all the way to the hospital emergency room.”
Eastport’s Kirchner went on to point out that the medic unit carrying the new defibrillator is the same surplus vehicle that the volunteers rehabilitated in 2013 and put into service in early 2014. He said, “The addition of our medic unit to the resources of the Annapolis Fire Department made a major improvement in emergency medical services in Eastport, the City of Annapolis and the nearby areas of Anne Arundel County. Since then, it’s become as busy as the other medic units.”
The Eastport Volunteer Fire Company has served Eastport and the greater Annapolis community since 1886. They meet monthly on the fourth Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at the Fire Hall at 914 Bay Ridge Avenue in Eastport. The company welcomes anyone wishing to become a member or simply help out with the company’s programs in fire and emergency medical services. Over the past five years, the Eastport Volunteer Fire Company has spent over $790 thousand for apparatus, equipment and improvements at the Eastport fire station.
For further information about the Eastport Volunteer Fire Company, please contact: Albert G. “Al” Kirchner, President, Eastport Volunteer Fire Company, 914 Bay Ridge Avenue, Post Office Box 3332, Annapolis, Maryland 21403-0332; telephone (410) 263-9494.