Lawrence Fire Department uses new hands-free CPR devices

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LAWRENCE, Ind. – The Lawrence Fire Department is using a new device, and it’s already making a difference. The tool goes with crews on all cardiac calls and gives patients hands-free CPR.

“High quality CPR is what’s going to assist in saving lives and that’s what we’re doing with this device,” said Tony Dowd, EMS Division Chief with Lawrence Fire Department.

Now when first responders get to an emergency, they start giving a patient traditional CPR and then the machine takes over the chest compressions.

“We still continue to do ventilations, but this device makes it to where we are able to be hands off on CPR and the device actually does the CPR for us,” said Dowd.

There are three devices, one of each of the department’s ambulances. Not only are they critical for saving lives, they’re also helping to keep first responders safe.  

“Especially in COVID-19 times, this makes it where we are able to do CPR, get this device onto the patient and the device takes over,” said Dowd.

Firefighters and EMT’s don’t have to be as close to a patient, which lowers the risk of possible exposure.  So far this year, Lawrence Fire and EMS have been on 2,000 calls, with the new tools the cardiac calls now require less crews on scene.

“Since we’ve been using it, we haven’t had to have that working company or that extra engine come in and work on a cardiac arrest patient. They’ve been able to mark in service and continue with any other emergency call that comes up,” said Dowd.

The machine senses the size of a patient and knows how deep and how fast compressions are needed. When first responders are trying to help a patient in a tight spot, such as a hallway, now they don’t have to stop CPR to move them.

“This device makes it where we can continue CPR going down the stairs or meeting any kind of obstacle even from the ambulance to the ER bay,” said Dowd.

These CPR machines have already made a difference, they’re credited with saving a handful of lives

“In any case we’d all love to have a few extra days,” said Dowd.

All the firefighters and EMT’s have been trained on the devices. The department spent about $39,000 on the three devices.  

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