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New technology to assist Hoodland Fire posted on 03/01/2021

The Hoodland Fire District (HFD) expected to have three LUCAS chest compression system devices ready to use last month, reducing close contact emergency responders will have with patients and improving the chances patients who are in cardiac arrest will survive.

The three devices were made possible thanks to approximately $41,000 in grant money from the CARES Act, last year’s economic stimulus in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s equipment that our fire district would never be able to afford without the CARES funding,” said Brian Henrichs, the HFD Division Chief who spearheaded the effort to get the devices. “It will hopefully last us a really long time.”

Henrichs noted that each of the three district’s stations will have one of the LUCAS devices, which offers responders the ability to provide hands-free cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). The devices, he added, came out approximately ten years ago and can be found in numerous other fire districts, including in Sandy and Gresham.

Responders may still initiate CPR, Henrichs said, performing it hands-on for up to four minutes before a quick transition to get the device in place and turned on. But he noted that the devices can be so successful that it induces patients to regain consciousness, not something that is frequently achieved with manual CPR.

Henrichs added that the district needed to wait on extra batteries for the devices, which are necessary in the district due to the travel time involved with taking patients to an interventional cardiac catheterization lab, where a stent can be installed. That travel time from the HFD can take up to 45 minutes, which is also approximately how long one battery will last, and Henrichs noted it would be unfortunate to have to switch to manual CPR part way through the journey.

Henrichs, who joined the district three years ago after working for American Medical Response, added the training to get the district’s responders up to speed on the new device was fairly easy, taking only 30 minutes. He also noted that anyone at the Emergency Medical Technician level or higher in the district can use it.

“It’s one of the best life-saving devices,” Henrichs said. “I don’t know why we haven’t had it for years.”

By Garth Guibord/MT

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