HOISINGTON — Hoisington’s EMS Director Scot Fleming learned earlier in December his department had been picked to receive a grant from Firehouse Subs of Wichita. The grant made it possible to purchase two ROSC-U mechanical CPR devices, one for each ambulance. The state-of-the-art equipment provides high-quality cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) for hours. He and EMT volunteers Megan Elmore, Garrett Tindall, and Andrea Aguilera demonstrated one of the new units Thursday morning when the department hosted Chamber Coffee at their new living and training quarters.
The American Heart Association recommends changing compressors every two minutes because the effectiveness of CPR decreases drastically after two minutes of continuous CPR by a human being. Most calls involve two EMTs, each switching off.
“Once you each provide two minutes of compressions, and switch off, it’s not nearly the quality of CPR it was the first time,” he said.
The device also allows technicians to elevate the victim for “heads-up” CPR. The method allows gravity to help improve blood flow in and out of the brain.
Unit provides hours of care
With practice, the device can be put on and deployed n less than 30 seconds, and can free up one technician totally to do other things, like airway management, IV intervention and medications.
Aguilera, Tindall and Elmore demonstrated operation of the device. A belt is placed around the chest of the patient, and the automatic CPR unit is placed in the center of the patients chest and attached to the belt. The unit accommodates chest sizes ranging from 24 inches to 72 inches, Fleming said. Once activated, it provides consistent high quality compressions the recommended 2-2 1/2 inches deep for up to three hours. That’s good, considering the length of transport times for patients in need of care who live in rural areas like northern Barton County.
Hoisington EMS serves the northwest quadrant of Barton County. It’s not unusual to have transfer times of up to 45 minutes.
The devices don’t diminish the importance of CPR training, Fleming said. He offered some statistics.
“With an out-of-the-hospital cardiac arrest, the chances of survival are almost zero unless somebody starts CPR right away,” he said. “That’s why its so important for everyone, even the young ones, to learn CPR.”
Human intervention is still critical even with the new equipment, providing life saving intervention until the mechanical device is in place and ready to take over.
Company understands need for equipment
The machines with all their accessories cost approximately $12,000 each. This cost was completely paid for through a grant from Firehouse Subs of Wichita, Fleming explained.
“The company formed a safety foundation in 2005. They have given away more than $30 million worth of equipment to small departments like ours,” he said. He added that Firehouse Subs sell the empty 5-gallon buckets their pickles come in for $2 each, and all of that goes to their foundation. In addition to grants to fire departments, the company also provides mechanical wheelchairs to disabled veterans. “They have good food too.”
Hoisington was fortunate, because Firehouse Subs usually awards grants to departments within a 60-mile radius of their restaurants. At the time the department applied for the grant, the closest location was Wichita.
Fleming spoke with Donald Bean, the general manager of two of the Firehouse Subs in Wichita. As they talked, Fleming realized they had worked together years ago at Life Team, a rapid response life flight company. Bean had also served as fire chief in Bennington, so he was familiar with the challenges small departments face in stocking critical life saving equipment. He urged Fleming to apply and to let him know what he was applying for so he could discuss it when his manager called him.
“When his regional manager called Donny, he said, “If we only get one grant awarded to this area, I want Hoisington to get it.” This is huge,” Fleming said, overcome with emotion. “I’m just so proud-- we could go years and not get equipment like this, and this will save lives. Saving lives is what this is all about.”