Milwaukee Co. EMS unveils new heart-monitoring equipment

BROWN DEER (WITI) -- Milwaukee County officials showed off new equipment Monday that they say will likely save lives. New heart monitors will be installed in 37 county ambulances. The upgraded monitors will allow paramedics to rely more accurate heart information to the hospitals waiting to receive patients.

"We have a world-class, a world-class service here and you're looking at folks behind me who provide and we should be proud of them," said County Executive Chris Abele, "The least we can do is provide them with the best equipment we can."

Milwaukee County EMS says the one of the biggest problems with the older monitors was their reliance on cellular signals to reach the hospital. The new monitors will use WiFi to relay messages with each ambulance acting as its own hot spot.

"They'll have some WiFi abilities and allow us to take data gathered in the hard drive of these monitors and through sending them through WiFi abilities, send them to the receiving hospital," said EMS Program Director Kenneth Sternig.

The 45 new monitors cost more than $1.1 million. Abele says the county will pay for the upgrade through a capital bond.

37 of the monitors will be placed in ambulances; the remaining eight will be reserved for special events like the state fair and Summerfest.