All Truckee Meadows Fire engines carrying new cardiac care equipment

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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) Every engine with the Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District is now equipped with a Lucas Chest Compression System. It's a device that performs CPR on patients in the field.

TMFPD has been using the device for the last year. All its crews are ALS-certified so paramedics on those trucks are able to provide the highest level of pre-hospital care.

"Having this machine is like having another firefighter on the engine because with CPR, that takes one person out automatically," said Captain Jamie Rivera of Truckee Meadows Fire. "Usually our operator will start CPR and do it for two minutes, pause, do it again. He'll get tired, we'll switch. With this device we program it, get it going and it never stops, all the way to the hospital."

He says that leaves the other paramedics free to handle other aspects of the call. Eighty percent of their calls are EMS calls.

"Now, instead of one person being dedicated to doing CPR, they can start an IV, work on creating an airway, try to get information about what could have put that patient into cardiac arrest," Rivera said. "It's a lot safer in the back of the ambulance too because you don't have to have that person standing over the patient during transport."

The district also purchased new cardiac monitors to use with the compression devices. Rivera says they help the paramedics get a better idea of what's wrong and help streamline treatment options.

"Now we're able to see in color, able to see multiple heart waves, different parts of the heart," Rivera said. "This system is helping us tremendously. We're more efficient, we're consistent on what we do and we're better when we get on scene."

The old monitors will go into the department's brush trucks so they can provide ALS services as well.

All of the district's 11 engines now have the new compression system and monitors. According to Fire Chief Charles Moore, the total investment is $438,600.

"Cardiac emergencies are a common event and potentially one of the most devastating," Moore said. "Our highly trained paramedics and top-of-the-line equipment afford our citizens the best chance of a good outcome."