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GBFD gets new defibrillators
Devices critical in emergencies
new defib main pic
Great Bend Fire Chief Luke McCormick and other Great Bend Fire Department personnel listen to Lori Rohling explain how to use the new ZOLL Medical monitors/defibrillators now in use by the department, Friday afternoon at Fire Station 1. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

The Great Bend Fire Department Friday afternoon took delivery of devices that ensure a higher level of care in emergency situations. Now in service are four X Series monitors/defibrillators.

“These will greatly improve what we can do for patients in the field,” said Fire Chief Luke McCormick. He joined members of the department Friday in the upstairs of the Fire Station 1 for training on the machines.

They were purchased from ZOLL Medical. Company representative Lori Rohling was in Great Bend this week to offer instruction.

“We will have a lot more capabilities,” McCormick said. There will be a unit on every ambulance. Crews can determine if a patient is having a heart attack and gather more information on scene. The data can be transmitted directly to an emergency room and stored to make reporting more efficient. 

The new equipment was not cheap. The four self-contained devices cost $120,212.

“For the past three years, we’ve budgeted $45,000 per year to replace our defibrillator monitors,” McCormick said. The idea was to replace the current monitors.

The ones in service now were bought in 2010, he said. “Monitors have about a five to seven year life expectancy. We’ve exceeded the life of the units we have now.”

So over the past several months, a committee comprised of firefighters, captains and battalion chiefs from each shift researched options to replace the department’s existing cardiac monitors, McCormick said. “The cardiac monitor is used on all most every patient as a diagnostic tool and, at times, for invasive procedures.” 

During the research phase, they viewed and tested units from ZOLL and Stryker. “The committee agreed that either monitor would meet our needs,” the chief said. 

They requested bids from both. Stryker submitted a bid for $127,568.16 and ZOLL submitted a bid for $120,212.18.

A big difference in the price was the trade-in Zoll offered, McCormick said. Otherwise, it was an apples-to-apples comparison.

This is an automated external defibrillator and is compliant with current American Heart Association standards. It offers hands-free manual defibrillation.

The vendor will provide three days of training to ensure adequate education of all personnel at the expense of the company.

Also approved in August was the purchase of the LUCAS 3.1 Chest Compression System from Stryker for $15,273.22. This has also arrived and is in service.

In May of 2019, the Fire Department with assistance from the Kansas Revolving and Assistance Fund grant through the Kansas Board of Emergency Medical Services was able to purchase one LUCAS Chest Compression System, McCormick said. Currently the department is carrying the device in the battalion chief’s vehicle as it responds to most unresponsive patients. 

“However, the department has found this devise to be very effective in administering chest compression and has had success using it,” he said. So, the department is recommending carrying the device on each first-out ambulance.

“There are some limitations,” he said of the units. They can only be used on adults, and sometimes they are ineffective on obese patients.

Also approved was the purchase of the desk-top charger at a cost of about $1,012.70. This will allow the devise to be carried in vehicles other than an ambulance. 

Previously, they had to take the unit out of service to charge.

But, he said the department had budgeted $135,000 for the monitors. The savings from this purchase, along with about $400 taken out of the GBFD budget, will cover the cost.


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Two Great Bend Fire Department firefighters practice using new portable monitor/defibrillator Friday afternoon at Fire Station 1. The department now has four of the units that will be on each ambulance in service. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune