ORLAND PARK, IL — A grant from Illinois American Water will make it possible for Orland Park firefighters and emergency personnel to better assess COVID-19 patients, the foundation said last week.
With $1,000 from the IAW Firefighter Grant Program, Orland Fire Protection District officials told Patch they will buy 20 infrared thermometers and oxygen monitors to use when out on emergency calls.
The grant raised and donated about $92,000 across 90 Illinois fire departments throughout 2021 for a total of $760,000 in grants over the past 11 years.
"We know the importance and value water has in protecting homes and businesses; we also understand the need to support our local heroes," said Justin Ladner, president of Illinois American Water. "This program allows us to continue to provide support to the local departments."
Orland Fire Chief Michael Schofield told reporters the new tools would help keep both firefighters, EMTs and residents safe by now having non-contact thermometers and oximeters in every ambulance and first responder vehicle.
"This equipment allows our paramedics to check the most immediate and necessary vital signs to determine severity of illness," Schofield said. "As in past years, [American Water's] generous grants have helped us purchase important and relevant items to help our firefighters and paramedics do the best job possible, while keeping them as safe as possible."
Grants from Illinois American Water, a privately owned water company based in the south suburbs, can be used to purchase protective gears, communication equipment, hoses and training materials.