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Six Fire Agencies receive Lucas™ CPR Devices

The Lucas™ Chest Compression Device










Six Peninsula Fire Departments receive Lucas™ CPR devices from Sequoia Healthcare District. Lifesaving chest compression systems far out-perform humans attempting CPR. Present for transfer ceremonies were, from left, Menlo Park Fire District Chief Harold Schapelhouman, Redwood City Fire Chief James Skinner, Sequoia Healthcare District Vice-president Jerry Shefren, Sequoia Healthcare District President Kim Griffin,Cal Fire Chief John Ferreira, Belmont San Carlos Fire Chief Doug Fry and Woodside Fire Chief Armando Muela (Not pictured, Foster City Fire Chief Dan Belville)


REDWOOD CITY – Sequoia Healthcare District, stepping up to speed up the process and help out cities strapped for funds to do their own programs, has provided life-saving Lucas™ CPR devices to six mid-Peninsula fire departments that represent full coverage of all residents within district boundaries.

The devices, officially known as Lucas™ Chest Compression Systems, have been credited with nearly miraculous life-saving capabilities through their ability to mechanically keep oxygenated blood pumping through the heart and brain for hours, if needed, in cases of cardiac arrest.

Sequoia Healthcare District’s HeartSafe program is supplying the $14,000 devices to the fire departments, a welcome gesture in times when all the affected cities are experiencing budget cuts. Over the past four years HeartSafe has placed more than 300 Automated External Defibrillators in schools, recreation centers, civic and other public facilities in Belmont, San Carlos, Redwood City, Redwood Shores, Menlo Park, Atherton, Portola Valley and Woodside, as well.

The newest addition to the HeartSafe program fills a gap in the availability of Lucas™ devices among Peninsula cities that may or may not have been filled over time. Municipalities and fire districts can apply for matching grants to purchase the devices to the Assistance to Firefighters program administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency under the Department of Homeland Security, a competitive process that can take several years and wind up costing cities thousands of dollars.

“The residents of our district deserve the best in emergency medical services,” Sequoia Healthcare District Board President Kim Griffin said. “This is another way we can assist those who support the district with direct healthcare programming.”

Lucas™ devices have been valued additions to fire departments who have managed to acquire them.

Human-powered cardio-pulmonary rescuscitation is effective for only a few minutes because fatigue quickly sets in. A 1995 medical study by a Minnesota hospital showed that “fatigue makes it difficult for even well-trained medical personnel to provide more than one minutes’ worth of effective chest compression” with CPR.

The Lucas™ device uses an air-powered piston with suction that compresses the chest to pump blood through the heart and lungs, as does manual CPR, but also lifts the chest to refill heart chambers, as manual CPR cannot do.

Effective CPR requires compressing the chest 1 1/2 to 2 inches 100 times per minute.

Firefighter/paramedics typically are the first to arrive on a cardiac arrest call. Without the assistance of a mechanical device, paramedics have had to stop CPR to move an arrest victim, have had to try to maintain CPR in a moving vehicle and have had difficult work to try to keep the process going for the many minutes it takes to transport a victim in an emergency.

In addition to its usefulness to first responders, the Lucas™ device can be used in emergency rooms to keep a patient perfused and can be used during patient transport.

A major positive is the fact that it is driven by compressed air that is standard in the self-contained breathing apparatus all firefighters use and thus costs the departments nothing to operate.

Invented by a Swedish company, Jolife, in 2001, the devices began to be deployed in the United States in 2008, most commonly on the East and West coasts. Bay Area fire departments in Contra Costa, Alameda and San Mateo counties began acquiring them in 2010. The City of San Mateo deployed seven of them in April of 2010. The six now in use fill a major gap in their availability on the mid-Peninsula and the Sequoia Healthcare District, which serves several hundred thousand residents.

The device comes in a portable pack and its three components quickly assemble around the chest of a cardiac arrest victim. It can accommodate individuals larger than 400 pounds.

Sequoia Healthcare District provides major funding to numerous non-profit community health organizations that directly assist more 35,000 women, children and seniors in the district, which includes the cities of Atherton, Belmont, Menlo Park, Portola Valley, Redwood City, San Carlos, Woodside, and portions of San Mateo and Foster City from Skyline Boulevard to the Bay.

Redwood City Fire Department Engine 10 Capt. Dan Horton, Firefighter/Paramedic Glendon Chan and Firefighter Steve Martin demonstrate their department’s new Lucas™ chest compression system, provided by Sequoia Healthcare District



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