County Coun. Mark Goetz, South Bruce, had a question for Steve Schaus, the county’s director of paramedic services, on whether a new automated CPR machine is something his municipality should be looking at for local firefighters.

Shaus presented a report at the May 4 meeting of the paramedic services committee on the purchase of five AutoPulse Automated CPR Machines (using COVID funding and, if necessary, paramedic services reserves) in the amount of $88,476.35 plus HST, and an additional six machines, at a cost of $98,290.42 plus HST, to be paid for from paramedic services reserves. This would equip all the ambulances in Bruce County.

The machines will be single-sourced from Zoll Medical Canada since the paramedic service’s defibrillators are Zoll. The new machines work wirelessly with existing monitors, says Schaus.

He described the new CPR machines as a board placed under the patient, with a strap that goes around the chest. The machine will perform compressions.

Unlike people, the machine doesn’t get tired. CPR is physically demanding. The report presented to the committee stated current protocols recommend switching off every two minutes.

Schaus further noted that getting the patient to the ambulance often makes meeting standards for effective CPR difficult. As stated in his report, “The patient must be carried around corners, up and down staircases, into elevators and down narrow hallways. Outside, paramedics and firefighters contend with snowbanks, ice, mud, riverbanks and uneven terrain. Often, CPR must be paused while obstacles are crossed to ensure the safety of all crew members.”

In addition, while the ambulance is in transit to the hospital, at least one paramedic or firefighter must stand up, unrestrained by a seatbelt, to provide chest compressions, with traffic conditions not only impeding the ability to perform effective CPR, but causing safety concerns.

Schaus stated in the report presented to the committee, “In 2022 paramedic services responded to 162 calls for cardiac arrests of those, 47 were transported to hospital. On average (last five years), we transported 35 to hospital annually and responded to 133 calls. As you can see, last year’s numbers are trending higher than the annual average. Each call involves egress from the scene and a lights and sirens transport to hospital. Both of these phases of patient care present challenges that are unique to the pre-hospital environment.”

AutoPulse Resuscitation Systems are currently used in Simcoe County, Hamilton and local services in Grey and Huron counties.

The use of the machine will not only benefit the patient, with uninterrupted, effective compressions, it will reduce the number of personnel in the patient compartment of the ambulance during transport.

County Coun. Luke Charbonneau, Saugeen Shores, asked for additional information on how use of CPR machines will reduce the demands on local volunteer firefighters.

Schaus explained that firefighters assist paramedics in a tiered response.

Goetz continued by asking how it would work in a rural area where “our firefighters are the first responders.” He went on to ask if this is something we should be looking at for our firefighters.

Schaus answered by saying it’s something that can be looked at.

“What we want to do is bring them (the CPR machines) around to the local fire departments, have them (firefighters) look at them and actually work with them and probably run through some scenarios… yes, your firefighters would be doing CPR prior to us getting there, and then there’s a transition hooking the machine up,” said Schaus.

He explained what paramedic services wants to do is to ensure the transition between manual CPR and the machine is smooth.

Schaus noted that where transport times are longer, firefighters could be doing CPR for 10 or even 15 minutes prior to the ambulance arriving, “depending on where you are.” He continued by saying it was “a very good question and something we can definitely look into.”

County Coun. Don Murray, Huron-Kinloss, who chairs the paramedic services committee, said he definitely agrees with the report. 

“It’s a big deal for our paramedics and firefighters, but also for the patients it’s being used on – it’s definitely a big deal for them.”

By Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on May 12, 2023 at 07:00

This item reprinted with permission from   The Herald-Times   Walkerton, Ontario

Comments are Welcome - Leave a reply below - Posts are moderated