BARGERSVILLE, Ind. – Training is underway at a local fire station that could help save lives. The Bargersville Community Fire Protection District has a LUCAS 3 Chest Compression System, a device that assists first responders by performing compressions on patients.
According to Fire Chief Jason Ramey, the department was able to purchase the $16,000 device thanks to the Assistance to Firefighters Grant, a federal program.
“The CPR itself is very taxing," Ramey said. "It’s been proven that after about one minute, the adequacy and the efficiency of the CPR does reduce, no matter how skilled or experienced the person. This does not change."
Every member of the fire department is an emergency medical technician (EMT) and some members are paramedics. There are nearly 60 people overall, and each one is going through training on the device.
The machine is on the department's fire-based ambulance staffed with life support with paramedics.
Ramey said over time, the machine may allow the department to send out one less apparatus when it responds to calls. He added most of the department's runs are for emergency services and ambulance calls, rather than for fighting fires.
The device can be used while transporting a patient from a scene to an ambulance and from the ambulance to a hospital.
“It’s dangerous for one to be standing up doing chest compressions in the road anyway," Ramey said.
The department also covers more square mileage than any other fire district in Johnson County, as the fire chief said its primary area consists of not only Bargersville, but also Trafalgar, New Whiteland and Whiteland.
According to Johnson County's health officer, Dr. Craig Moorman, roughly 200 deaths during 2017 were heart related.
“About one out of five death certificates in Johnson County lists heart disease, cardiac arrest or coronary heart disease, as the main cause of death," said Moorman.
The American Heart Association has reported constant compressions, at 100 beats per minute, provides the best chance of survival.
A medical director, who works with EMTs in Johnson County on improving pre-hospital emergency services, said the county gets a pulse back in patients 44 percent of the time. Officials are optimistic the device will increase that number.