Device revolutionizes CPR for Yorkville Fire Department

T-L Photo/KAREN COMPTON Yorkville Fire Department Chief Dana Brown handles the new Zoll mechanical resuscitation device that performs automated chest compressions on patients, which allows EMS workers to provide better care.

YORKVILLE — CPR, or cardiopulmonary resuscitation, is changing with the times, making it more likely that the procedure will save lives.

While traditional manual CPR, where a person performs chest compressions on a patient with their hands, still saves patients, technology is making the process better and easier. The equipment that makes this advanced life-saving technique possible is called a mechanical life-saving, or resuscitation, device, and the Yorkville Fire Department now has one.

“The mechanical resuscitation device will change the landscape of cardiac intervention,” Yorkville Fire Chief Dana Brown said.

This technology has been in use for about 10 years, and it allows a steady and consistent application of compressions for better care, Brown said.

“Research shows that good-quality CPR keeps the blood flowing,” he noted.

A mechanical life-saving device has an advantage over a person doing manual CPR since it doesn’t become tired and can keep applying compressions. Brown said that when the department has a two-person crew, one person is the ambulance driver and one person is tending to the patient in the back of the squad. Fatigue sets in when just one person is doing manual chest compressions, Brown said.

Even when multiple crew members perform CPR together, they can feel fatigue, so having a mechanical life-saving device can benefit the patient. It also frees the paramedic up to perform other life-saving duties.

“We can maintain an airway or use cardiac drugs,” Brown said.

According to Brown, the units are designed to be used in cardiac arrest situations or when people “code.” He said they are also being utilized with the opioid epidemic when a person overdoses, or anytime there is no heartbeat. The Yorkville Fire Department purchased a Zoll brand device which he said was an excellent choice due to its advanced technology and ease of use. The Zoll device is manufactured in America and cost $15,000. The Back Room, a local social and civic club comprised of firefighters and community members, provided the funds.

“We were humbled by that (donation),” Brown said, noting that his department will share the technology. “We will bring it to neighboring departments as needed.”

Brown also cited the recent closures of East Ohio Regional Hospital in Martins Ferry and Ohio Valley Medical Center in Wheeling as a reason the device is needed. He said the transport times to other hospitals is longer and the mechanical life-saving device allows for quality, consistent chest compressions over a longer period of time.

The mechanical device also gives people a significant increase in their ability to recover from a cardiac event and to remain neurologically sound, Brown said.

“The biggest advantage is we want to give anyone is to have to the best opportunity to recover,” Brown said.

The device weighs 27 pounds and fits into a portable pack that is kept in the squad. It is powered by lithium batteries, and the department always keeps extra batteries charged. It is a self-contained unit that acts as a stretcher and backboard for the patient.

The official training on the device’s operation for department staff was held Sunday. Village street workers were also trained, and there are plans to train law enforcement officers on how to use the device, Brown said.

Brown said that although the device may be used in dire circumstances, it is a vital piece of equipment for the department to have.

“It will unfortunately have to be used at some point, but fortunately we will have it,” Brown said. “It’s gonna save people’s lives.”

Brown is resigning from his position as fire chief at the end of this year after five years in the role and is running for mayor of Yorkville. He said he would like to see community members become more involved with local government.


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