The Lombard Fire Department has a few new faces, and the Lombard community has a few new lifesaving devices after a recent series of promotions and automatic external defibrillator giveaways.
Three new firefighters were sworn in and Lt. Paul DiRienzo was promoted to battalion chief during Thursday's village board meeting. The fire department also gave out 11 heart-starting devices called automatic external defibrillators to schools and community organizations, some of which couldn't afford to buy the devices.
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A DuPage County Health Department program called Start the Heart made the AED giveaway possible. A grant allowed the county to buy 92 AEDs, which can help restart the heart of a person who has gone into cardiac arrest, said John Miller, volunteer development specialist at the health department.
"We wanted to figure out a way to multiply our resources," Miller said.
So the county set up a matching program, offering to give communities one AED for every two devices they buy.
Lombard bought 22 AEDs and received 11 to dole out to busy locations in town because having more defibrillators available increases a cardiac arrest patient's chances of survival, said DiRienzo, the department's emergency services officer.
National University of Health Sciences, Westmore School in District 45, Glenbard East High School, the Lombard Jaycees and the Lombard Park District's Paradise Bay water park all received defibrillators Thursday. The rest of Lombard's 11 devices from the county went to the village hall, the public works division, the police center at Yorktown Center, the police department's front desk, the fire department's battalion chief car and fire station No. 1.
Joining the fire department Thursday were new firefighters Matt Orsekse, Ben Speck and John Studnicka. DiRienzo was promoted to battalion chief, filling the position of retiring Battalion Chief Ron Rakosnik, who began serving Monday as Villa Park fire chief.
The village still is searching for its next permanent fire chief to take over for Acting Chief Jerry Howell.