Lifesaving equipment has arrived for the Mahopac Volunteer Fire Department. Mahopac volunteer firefighters and EMS personnel are part of the first department in Putnam County to boast owning two new Lund Hospital Cardiac Arrest Systems 2 (LUCAS) devices that could save more lives when residents fall into cardiac arrest.
The LUCAS 2 chest compression system is a medical device that assists EMS workers in keeping blood circulation going to the brain and heart in sudden cardiac arrest patients. Instead of a volunteer attempting to provide constant chest compressions, the machine does the work at a more effective rate.
The department’s Board of Commissioners opted to purchase two LUCAS 2 gizmos for each ambulance for roughly $13,000 apiece.
Volunteers for the department received hands on training Thursday night at the department’s headquarters along Route 6. Explaining the LUCAS 2 to the department was Ryan Pinnix, a district sales representative of Physio Control. He said the device results in a higher rescue rate when first responders assist a person suffering a heart attack. In other areas that purchased the machine, before they had the LUCAS 2, the survival rate for patients was 10 percent and afterward it was about 50 percent, he said.
“It gives perfect CPR, which increases the chances of getting someone back,” Pinnix said.
Department leadership was excited about the possibility of the new device.
Chairman of the commissioners’ board George Jones said a couple members that also work for professional ambulances brought the idea to the board after they used the LUCAS 2 at work.
Jones said this new mechanism takes some of the guesswork out of CPR and makes it easier to provide chest compressions while moving patients.
“It’s a good chunk of change but we feel that it’s definitely worth it,” Jones said. “It’s definitely worth it for the community, we’re always looking to buy new equipment to help the citizens of Mahopac.”
Assistant fire chief Jason Kinash said the LUCAS 2 is the “best investment” the department has made in a long time. One of the biggest problems the department has is manpower on each call, he said, so the hope is the new machine alleviates that issue.
Kinash said it’s extremely difficult for a person to do continuous CPR, with even someone in good health only lasting 5-7 minutes before they wear down. The machine goes an hour and half with “perfect CPR” the entire time, Kinash noted.
The department averages 2-3 CPR calls per month, and unfortunately only have 1-2 saves per year, Kinash said.
“We hope to save more people’s lives,” he said.
Chief William Bahr said he hopes the device saves lives and will certainly improve member safety because instead of a EMS volunteer standing to work on a patient in the back of an ambulance, he or she can be seat belted in while the machines does its job.
“The first life it saves,” Bahr said. “it’ll pay for itself.”