Not only do they have to make sure they’re pumping hard enough and keeping a steady pace, but they also have to administer medication, pump oxygen into the patient’s lungs and much more.
“We’d be working on delivering epinephrine so that we can hopefully excite the heart and get the heart to start again or other medications,” firefighter Joshua Bowden of Jacksonville Fire Rescue said while demonstrating CPR on a dummy. “Also getting a tube down the patient’s throat so we can breathe for them, getting fluids going to bring their blood pressure back up.”
To make matters more difficult, Jacksonville Fire Rescue only has two firefighters on duty at a time. Other fire departments in Jackson County have anywhere between three and five firefighters at a time.
That’s why Bowden, who’s a first-year firefighter, brought up the idea of buying an AutoPulse CPR machine.
“My captain and I had a cardiac arrest where we were on scene by ourselves for probably 8 minutes and it really limited what we were able to do,” Bowden said. “I had heard about these CPR machines that do the compression’s for you and figured that that was something we could use.”
Bowden says many studies show that CPR is not effective if there are pauses in the compression’s or the speed and amount of pressure is not right. He says when it comes to people administering CPR it’s hard to make sure they’re doing everything right.
The machine, however, can give continuous CPR without pauses and determine the right speed and the right amount of pressure to give a patient for an hour and a half.
“In performing CPR it takes more than two people to accomplish the task,” Captain Christopher Arnold, Jacksonville Fire Rescue, said. “The CPR AutoPulse machine actually takes the place of the person that’s doing the compression’s.”
A brand new, unused AutoPulse Machine costs $15,000 and a refurbished machine costs $10,000, but with a small budget, Bowden said that isn’t something that is affordable for them.
Bowden was determined to get this machine in the hands of Jacksonville Fire Rescue which is why he put together a spaghetti dinner fundraiser and reached out to the community for help.
“We raised over $7500 from the very very very generous donors of Jacksonville,” Bowden said.
Nearly $3,000 short from 10k, Bowden reached out to the company that makes the machine and asked if they would lower their price. A little negotiation and the company settled for selling the machine at a little over $7,800.
“To actually have the machine and know that it’s on the rig and its ready to help us save lives is just an amazing feeling,” Bowden said. “The only thing that’ll cap it off is the day that somebody comes back with us using that machine.”
Jacksonville Fire Rescue received the machine in January and have been officially able to use it for two weeks.
Blakely McHugh is a weather forecaster and reporter for NBC5 News. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Blakely is a native of San Diego, CA.
Blakely is excited to be in southern Oregon, a place that gets all the seasons and has similar temperatures to Arizona in the summer! When she’s not at work, you can find her relaxing at home watching TV and cuddling with her cat, Dallas. She also enjoys trying new places to eat and exploring the outdoors.
Blakely loves meeting new people so if you see her out and about, say “Hi!”