Newsroom

Date: 1/29/2014

BP awards hospitals grants to help improve air quality, reduce emissions

The hospitals of Community Healthcare System have designated $50,000 in grant money from the BP-CADER (BP-Cleaner Air through Diesel Emission Reduction) fund to make a positive impact on the improvement of air quality in the Region. The hospitals are among 10 Lake County organizations who have been awarded grants from the BP-CADER fund to reduce emissions, such as by using alternative fuels.

The funding will enable Community Hospital in Munster; St. Catherine Hospital in East Chicago and St. Mary Medical Center in Hobart to purchase and install Medidock Ambulance Anti-idling Kiosks outside each of the hospital’s Emergency Departments. These anti-idling kiosks provide power to idling ambulances without the use of fuel. Instead of fuel, the kiosks provide a power cable that connects to an ambulance keeping the motor battery and medical equipment charged, and a window-mounted duct that supplies heat or cooling to the ambulance cabin. This allows the ambulance to wait for the next patient transport with the engine turned off.

“With fewer engines idling, less toxic components are emitted into the air we breathe,” John Gorski, Chief Operating Officer of Community Healthcare System, said. “Our hospitals are proud to be given the opportunity through the grant award to make a difference in the communities we serve by contributing to the improvement of air quality in our region.”

The BP-CADER grant program was made possible from a cooperative agreement between the BP Whiting Refinery, the Sierra Club, Save the Dunes, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Hoosier Environmental Council, the Environmental Law and Policy Center, the Environmental Integrity Project and private citizens.
South Shore Clean Cities, Inc. designed and administered the grant. South Shore Clean Cities promote the use of clean fuels and clean vehicle technologies through programs promoting alternative fuels, fuel economy, idle reduction technology, and hybrid or electric vehicles.

At the hospitals of Community Healthcare System, as well as hospitals across the country, ambulances often idle outside the Emergency Department in order to keep medical equipment charged and medications at the proper temperature while waiting for the next patient transport. The exhaust from these ambulances contains a variety of toxic components including carbon monoxide and compounds linked to lung disease. Ambulance exhaust can float into the Emergency Department and surrounding areas where compromised patients wait for treatment.

“In healthcare, our mission and purpose guides us toward not only healing the sick and injured, but also instituting prevention efforts to keep our communities well and free from illness,” says Gorski. “One of the major health concerns in our region is respiratory diseases such as asthma, emphysema and lung cancer. In some cases, these types of diseases may be linked to poor air quality.”