ROCKFORD (WREX) – When the Rockford Fire Department needs to deliver CPR to a patient, it’s relying on a new device to help. Each Rockford Fire ambulance has something called a LUCAS 3.
“We can put this on them and it allows us to re-dedicate a person to another task during a cardiac arrest,” says Rockford Fire EMS Training Coordinator Brian Park.
The device attaches to the patient in mere seconds, allowing paramedics to continue compressions even when they’re moving from the scene of the emergency, to the ambulance, or to inside the hospital.
“One of the things we had issues with doing safely is consistent high quality chest compressions,” says Park. “[The devices] they allow us to consistently allow those chest compressions for upward of 45 to 50 minutes.”
And when it comes to compressions, experts says consistency is key. The blows work to increase blood pressure and flow to the brain. If there’s an interruption in those compressions, it can take rescuers back to square one.
“Once we’re above that threshold any interruptions bring that down to zero,” says Park. “We want to minimize the interruptions in those chest compressions so we don’t waste 15 to 20 compressions.”
And not only does it help paramedics deliver CPR, it keeps them safe in the process as well. Letting them stay buckled in the ambulance, something that traditional CPR doesn’t allow.
“Doing chest compressions in the back of an ambulance is an inherently dangerous. Our personnel are unstrapped and they become a missiles if we do end up in accident.”
The fire department says it first received the devices in January. Since then, firefighters say they’ve saved atleast two people due to the device.