PWFD to use relief funds for lifesaving equipment

Device that performs chest compressions is among items department will purchase with $64,645 in ARPA funds
Ozaukee Press staff

The Port Washington Ambulance Service will be getting some valuable new equipment thanks to some state American Rescue Plan Act funding it is receiving, the Police and Fire Commission learned Monday.

The most notable piece is the Lucas Chest Compression System, Fire Chief Mark Mitchell said.

The system has been something the department has been considering for years, but the money hasn’t been there, he said.

“That was our top priority,” Mitchell said.

Made by Stryker, which also makes the power cots and lifts used by the Port department, the Lucas system wraps around the chest of someone in cardiac arrest or who has had a heart attack.

Once secured, the device does the cardiac compressions otherwise done by a person administering CPR.

“It releases the human from doing cardiac compressions,” Mitchell said, and allows them to do other tasks, such as keeping airways open or administering medications.

“It’s been very, very successful in departments that have these devices. It’s relatively easy to fit around the patient. It’s consistent, and the quality of the compressions is consistent.”

That’s important because people administering CPR get exhausted from the compressions quickly, he said, noting that the department typically will call for additional help when dealing with these patients to ensure compressions aren’t interrupted.

Compressions are essential in these types of situations, Mitchell noted, because it keeps oxygenated blood circulating throughout the body until a regular heartbeat resumes.

The Lucas system will also prove valuable when emergency workers transfer someone on an elevator or stairs — times when compressions are typically interrupted until the patient is on a hard surface.

Even in a moving ambulance, it’s difficult to keep compressions going, Mitchell  noted.

The Lucas device costs about $17,500, and the department will use ARPA funds and an EMS grant it received from the State of Wisconsin to purchase it, Mitchell said.

Typically, the EMS grant is about $5,000. But this year it is being supplemented by state ARPA funds.

The department is receiving a total of $24,000 in 2023 and 2024 from the state, and it has also been given a $52,645 state grant financed by ARPA funds, Mitchell said.

In addition to the Lucas Chest Compression System, the money will be used to purchase an ultrasound for cardiac patients that will help ambulance personnel determine the type of electrical activity in the heart.

That information will help emergency personnel figure out the right treatment for the patient, Mitchell said.

“It’s all about the best care for our patients to help get them healthy,” Mitchell said.

The ultrasound device costs around $3,000, he noted.

The state funds will also allow the department to get IV pumps, training props such as an airway mannequin that can be used to practice intubation and additional personal protective gear, Mitchell said.

Commission members were impressed by the list of equipment.

“This looks like a nice shopping list,” Commission Chairman Jim Biever said.


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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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