Ala. fire department gets automated CPR device

The fire department has two of the devices and has seen an 11 percent increase in the patients restored to spontaneous circulation since they've had this tool


Donna Thornton
The Gadsden Times, Ala.

GADSDEN, Ala. — Volunteers with the Ballplay Bend Volunteer Fire Department sold barbecue Saturday and showed off a new piece of potentially life-saving equipment.

Ballplay Bend become one of the few – only two, as far as Chief Jeremy Tidmore was aware of – to have a Lifeline Automated Chest Compression System. Some of the municipal departments have the systems, and have used them already to provide sustained, steady chest compressions for patients who need resuscitation.

Ballplay Bend become one of the few to have a Lifeline Automated Chest Compression System. (Photo/ Ballplay Bend Fire Department)
Ballplay Bend become one of the few to have a Lifeline Automated Chest Compression System. (Photo/ Ballplay Bend Fire Department)

"People use the term all the time, but this is a real game-changer," Tidmore said.

The area served by Ballplay Bend has an approximately 41 minute ambulance response time, sometimes longer, he said, especially with the current closed-bridge detour.

"If you've ever done CPR, you know it's exhausting," Tidmore said, and patients in cardiac arrest need to receive CPR from the moment they are found until emergency room physicians take over their care.

With volunteer fire departments, he said, you never know who will be able to respond to a call – there may not be people to trade off and continue steady effective chest compressions when one responder gets tired.

"This device will keep going until the power runs out," he said, and that's not likely to happen. In addition to the system, the department has a back up batter for it that will last a hour, and a plug-in system that can power unlimited continued compressions.

Wil Reed is part of the Ballplay Fire Department and EMS Supervisor for the Gadsden Fire Department. The GFD has two of the devices, he said, and they've seen an 11 percent increase in the patients restored to spontaneous circulation since they've had this tool.

He said know the eventual outcome for all those patients, but using the device helped them survive to get to the hospital.

Once the machine is in place, it can stay there while a patient is moved down stairs, or into an ambulance, and maintain compression all the way to the hospital.

With manual CPR, there are times CPR would have to be stopped momentarily, Tidmore said.

Still, Tidmore and Reed said, it's vital that CPR begin before any emergency responders – even those equipped with this device arrive. They urged people to how to perform CPR.

The department was able to get the device largely through a grant from the Coosa Valley Resource Conservation and Development Council. Council office manager Christy Cochran said the council is pleased to have been able to help provide the needed device for the department.

Sen. Andrew Jones, R-Centre, and Etowah County Commissioner Johnny Grant were on hand for the ceremonial presentation of the big check.

Jones said Tidmore made him aware of the need for the CPR machine.

"I knew this department had one of the longest ambulance response times in the county," Jones said. Since being elected, he said, he'd become acquainted with the staff at the council and took the department's request to them.

Tidmore said with the grant and some funding from the department, the device was purchased and the department received it Friday.

He said its considered in service now; he and Reed have both been trained in its use. The rest of the department will be trained in using it soon.

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©2019 The Gadsden Times, Ala.

 

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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