OLDS — The Olds Fire Department has received several key life-saving tools, thanks to the Olds Health Care Fundraising Committee (OHCFC) and others, Chief Justin Andrew says.
Andrew made that point during an OHCFC appreciation brunch for supporters and donors, held Sept. 10 at the Evergreen Centre.
He spent much of his talk discussing the LifePak 15, an advanced cardiac monitor.
Andrew noted that firefighters are often the first on the scene during medical emergencies, sometimes arriving before EMS (ambulance crews).
Getting medical help to patients immediately can mean the difference between life and death, he explained.
The LifePak 15 helps firefighters do that.
“If your heart is not beating properly, your chance of survival decreases 10 per cent per minute. So you can imagine that that 10 minutes is pretty important for somebody to have a successful outcome,” Andrew said.
He said the LifePak 15 enables first responders to do a thorough examination of the patient and provide diagnostic services in consultation with doctors at the Olds Hospital and Care Centre or even in Calgary.
“We can diagnose and create a treatment plan for that patient prior to EMS arriving, or sometimes in conjunction with EMS,” he said.
Andrew gave an example of when arriving on-scene with the right equipment made all the difference.
He said a young person suffering a “serious cardiac event in a sporting event” was “successfully resuscitated on-site.”
Andrew said other key life-saving tools obtained from groups like the OHCFC include a defibrillator, a piece of equipment that provides an electric charge or current to re-start a person’s normal heart beat.
Another key piece of equipment he said is the Lucas CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) device, which was bought about three years ago through a partnership between the Town of Olds and Mountain View County councils.
“That device works so well it actually is more effective than beating heart,” Andrew said.
“Now, we're not going to say that we're trying to replace the heartbeat with that. But in a situation where you can't cope or manage on your own, you will do an effective job.”
“It has been used numerous times in this community and surrounding (area). We have lots of good stories about what impact it has, and (that) continues,” he added.
Andrew said those three pieces of equipment “create a full package” that enables firefighters to help their fellow citizens when they need it.
"That's the whole premise of why I brought them, is to show you what capability the fire department has, and (what) the medical responders that operate within it can do,” he said.
“We are definitely providing a higher level of service to the citizens.”
OHCFC chair Liz Mills agreed.
“We are really fortunate that we have a department in the town that has that equipment when they need it,” she said.