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RICHMOND HTS. -- It's not easy to get voters to pass levies or tax increases nowadays, so when fire departments need new equipment, they're using some creative thinking.

That means writing grants, or in the case of Richmond Heights, partnering with a hospital system to get the latest high tech lifesaving equipment.

Paramedic Dominic Silvestro is essentially the eyes and hands of a doctor in the field. Now he has tools usually reserved for a hospital. Inside the squad at the Richmond Heights Fire Department is nearly $100,000 worth of lifesaving equipment that didn't cost taxpayers a dime. It's because Richmond Heights has a partnership with University Hospitals.

As part of its mission, UH gives back to communities by providing advanced life support equipment to some local fire departments.

University Hospitals Med Command works with 84 different fire and EMS services in nine counties and about two hundred different ambulances. The hospital partnerships are unique to this area and perhaps could become a national model elsewhere.

"At the end of the day we're the ones that get the 911 call and take care of the citizens. Now we can put this emergency room technology in the hands of our first responders. It's truly a privilege to be the first in the country to have that technology," says Richmond Heights Fire Chief Marc Neumann.