The Des Moines Fire Department’s ambulances are now equipped with high-tech gear that officials say will help save lives. Department spokesman Brian O’Keefe says the City of Des Moines has invested in wireless heart monitors that connect the patient in the ambulance with the hospital and their eventual e-r doctor.

“So our paramedics on site with the patient can transmit that data to a hospital and that doctor can look at that information instantaneously and help paramedics make decisions and prepare the hospital for actual cardiac patients,” O’Keefe says.

“It reduces the time the heart is experiencing muscle loss and damage so we expect it to save some lives.” O’Keefe says the Des Moines department responds to lots of heart attacks. Over six-hundred patients transported last year by Des Moines Fire paramedics were suffering a heart attack.

There is no other department in Iowa using the wireless technology, nor are larger departments in nearby cities like Omaha. O’Keefe says they hope the next step will connect the wireless heart monitors in the ambulances with doctors who’re carrying P-D-As or Blackberrys, so the doctor can be plugged in to the patient’s situation without having to go to a computer in the emergency room.

In the past, paramedics monitored an E-K-G in the ambulance then had to call the hospital to relay the information and get permission to administer certain medications. Now, the paramedic and cardiologist are in constant contact during the ambulance run, and the hospital can alert necessary staff earlier to set up for life-saving heart operations. This is, by the way, Emergency Medical Services Week.