Germantown Fire Department introduces new CPR technology

Machines to assist with cardiac arrest patients

GERMANTOWN, Wis. - New technology at the Germantown Fire Department should help first responders better treat cardiac arrest patients.

Within the last three weeks, the fire department has purchased two LUCAS Machines using money from local businesses J.W. Speaker and Alcami.

Each business sponsored one machine, said Chief Gary Weiss. They cost $15,775 each.

"When our fire department can partner with our community on something like this, it's a win-win for everybody," the chief said.

Weiss said the department's two "first out" ambulances are now equipped with the machines.

The chief said the machines give constant, consistent chest compressions to a patient whose heart has stopped beating.

He said compressions performed by medics, while effective, can vary based on someone's size and strength.

Weiss said ambulance crews also have to stop compressions at times -- like when transporting a patient out of a home, or down the stairs.

Strapping the LUCAS Machine onto a patient eliminates that problem.

"When you stop doing compressions, there's no blood circulating," Weiss said. "That's the key to surviving. You have to have blood circulating to the heart, the brain, and to other vital organs."

"This machine gives constant, consistent CPR all the way to the hospital," Weiss said.

He said when called to a cardiac arrest, first responders will start with manual chest compressions and place the LUCAS Machine onto a patient as soon as they can.

The devices give 30 compressions, before pausing two seconds for the patient to be ventilated. That's the official, American Heart Association protocol, the chief said.

The machines can't be used on babies.

The Germantown Fire Department has so far not had to use the machines on any patients.

Although firefighters have already saved three cardiac arrest patients this year.


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