First responders train to use new life-saving device

CPR saves lives, which is commonly known. But what isn’t always known is that CPR has changed over the years.

Guidelines for CPR changed in 2005 from 15 compressions on the chest with two breaths to 30 compressions with two breaths. However, now it is continuous compressions, which can fatigue a person quickly.

Fortunately, a CPR mechanical device was created to provide continuous compressions to assist emergency responders. It’s called the Lucas 2 chest compression system.  

The Easton EMS has acquired two Lucas 2 devices. Easton emergency responders, emergency medical technicians, firefighters, and police officers were eager to learn how to use the new device at a training session March 2 at the Easton firehouse.

Michael Hooper, senior sales representative for Physio Control Inc., the manufacturer, provided the training workshop, explaining the benefits of using the device and the time it takes to save a person in cardiac arrest.  

He explained why the Lucas 2 was more effective than the team alone.

“The challenge is that everybody has different strength and different endurance,” Hooper said. “But they have to do 200 straight compressions; they have to do 100 a minute, and they have to do 2 to 2.4 inches of depth under the new guidelines.”

He said the new device was good for both efficiency and safety, especially when the medics are moving, or if the patient is being moved to an ambulance.

“In the back of the ambulance you have to stand up, which is unsafe, or you have to sit down, where you don’t have leverage to do proper compressions,” he said. “Studies have shown you need to do proper compressions the entire time.”

He also said that the first five minutes of receiving CPR are critical, and by the time first responders arrive, they are at the end of that time and need to respond quickly to help the patient. One responder would begin CPR, while another sets up and starts the device on the patient.

Sandra Snyder and Peg Shukie demonstrate the Lucas 2 during a training session at the Easton firehouse. — Tina Ugas photo

Sandra Snyder and Peg Shukie demonstrate the Lucas 2 during a training session at the Easton firehouse. — Tina Ugas photo

Participants in the training watched a video on how a pig’s heart responded successfully to compression during a cardiac arrest. They also watched video of the Lucas 2 that is available on YouTube.

Hooper said the new CPR device was developed in 2000. He said more than 15,000 devices were sold worldwide in more than 40 countries. Connecticut currently has 300 devices.

The device is used by placing a backboard under a patient, strapping it under the shoulders and putting the suction cup in place before turning on the device. It compresses 120 times for 45 minutes.

It can be used on people from age 8 to 80, weighing between 80 and 350 pounds, not to exceed a chest of 58 inches. The device automatically adjusts for smaller patients, and can be used for elderly adults and pregnant women.

Sandra Snyder is a Easton emergency medical technician trainer. She was practicing on the device with her assistant trainer, Andrew Tisdale, before all the participants arrived. She said the machine can have great benefits in helping to save lives.

“I think it’s really cool,” Snyder said. “I mean, it definitely helps free up hands, so we can assist the medic with any other treatment and care.”

Tisdale, an emergency medical technician with the Easton Volunteer Emergency Medical Service for two years, agreed with Snyder, and said he is impressed by the device.

“I think it’s great. It helps us do other things, such as help the medic get the tube down, or various other things we do during CPR,” Tisdale said. “Normally, it takes about two of us to do compressions because you switch back and forth; now it frees up those two people.”

Peg Shukie, director of public relations of Easton EMS, said the two devices were purchased with money obtained at the service’s 2015 fund-raiser. The total cost for the two devices was $28,000.

“Easton EMS is grateful to its generous donors who have made the purchase of two Lucas 2 CPR devices a reality,” Shukie said. “In the event of cardiac arrest, the best outcome is achieved through quality CPR started as soon after the arrest as possible. The Lucas 2 CPR device assures optimum compressions based on rate and depth without interruption. Clearly it offers patients the best chance of survival.”

As the participants were nearly finished training on the new devices, an emergency call came requesting help for an Easton resident suspected of a cardiac arrest. A few of the first responders rushed out to the call.

On the way out, one of them turned back and grabbed the Lucas 2. Everyone seemed excited that they had the new device to help during an emergency.

CPR saves lives. The Lucas 2 ensures that the job gets done and helps first responders do it a little better.

Easton Volunteer EMS offers CPR classes for Easton residents so they can help save a life. For information, call headquarters at 448 Sport Hill Road, adjacent to the Easton Village Store, at 203-452-9595, or visit eastonems.com.

Emergency medical technician Andrew Tisdale, assistant trainer for the Easton Volunteer Emergency Medical Service, trains emergency responders how to use the Lucas 2. — Tina Ugas photo

Emergency medical technician Andrew Tisdale, assistant trainer for the Easton Volunteer Emergency Medical Service, trains emergency responders how to use the Lucas 2. — Tina Ugas photo

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