By Erica Thomas, managing editor
ARGO — The city of Argo is using $115,000 in COVID CARES Act funds to purchase high-tech, life-saving equipment for the fire department.
Many other local agencies, including 40 fire departments in Jefferson County, use the equipment but the purchase will serve as an upgrade to Argo Fire and Rescue. The city was already looking to upgrade the equipment and when CARES Act money became available, Mayor Betty Bradley said there was no question what the money needed to be spent on.
The Lifepak CR2 is a simple and user-friendly defibrillator but it also uses the latest technology to save lives. The survival rate of someone in cardiac arrest is much higher with such a device. The current defibrillators at Argo City Hall are outdated so the city needed new ones to place around council chambers and other important gathering places in the city. They can be used by anyone because they give audio instructions on what to do. If the machine is hooked to a person who does not need to be defibrillated, it will also let the user know. Any business can purchase a Lifepak CR2 for $2,500.
The Lifepak 15 is like an “ER in a box” and can help first responders treat patients on the scene, in conjunction with the Lucas 3. It comes with a monitor and defibrillator that also has the ability to register oxygen levels, CO2 levels, pulse, heart rate, blood pressure and more. It also has a built-in EKG. That information can be transmitted to a hospital prior to a patient’s arrival, cutting assessment time by the ER.
The machine can run on battery or power and can continuously administer life-saving compressions while a patient is being transported to a hospital. Lt. Andy Griffith said the devices work together to make the job of first responders more efficient.
“When you have multiple people on a call, it helps them process a patient faster,” said Griffith. “You can focus on the cause of cardiac arrest and troubleshoot the issue while the machine takes care of the patient.”
The equipment will be certified annually. Stryker will provide loaner devices in case of a faulty product or needed repair.
The city of Trussville was one of the first departments to purchase the Lucas 3. Lt. Griffith, who also works at Trussville Fire & Rescue, said he has used the device over 50 times and has seen its success. Griffith said he recently witnessed a situation in Argo where the devices could have saved a man’s life and could have made the efforts of first responders more efficient.
“We had a cardiac arrest that turned into a traffic accident and an off-duty guy witnessed it rendered aid,” Griffith said. “He called 911 and as soon as Argo got there, they started CPR. Our guys ended up doing CPR for 40 minutes.”
Griffith said he doesn’t know the outcome for the man involved in the crash, but he said the Lucas 3, which gives perfect CPR compressions, could have meant the difference for everyone involved.
The Lifepak 15 and the Lucas 3 come with one-year warranties. The warranty on the Lifepak CR2 is eight years.
You can watch the video below to see how the equipment works.