FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 19, 2015
Contact: Jon Ebelt, Public Information Officer, DPHHS, (406) 444-0936
Chuck Council, Communications Specialist, DPHHS, (406) 444-4391
Lucas 2 chest compression device training scheduled for Nov. 19-20 at St. Peter’s Hospital
46 life-saving devices to be distributed in southwestern Montana
As part of a grant to enhance the overall Emergency Medical System (EMS) in Montana, the Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) is hosting a training this week for 75 southwestern Montana EMS professionals on new life-saving automatic compression devices.
The training is from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on both Thursday and Friday, November 19-20 at St. Peter’s Hospital in Helena.
The training and devices are funded through a $3.2 million grant that Governor Steve Bullock announced in January 2015 from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust and is part of a three-year Cardiac Ready Communities initiative in Montana.
“The training and new equipment being provided is an incredible opportunity to enhance the already great work that our first responders deliver every day in Montana,” Bullock said.
A total of 38 southwestern Montana agencies will attend the training, including several from the Helena area, to learn how to use the devices known as the Physio-Control LUCAS 2 Chest Compression System. In attendance will be emergency responders from Helena, Townsend, Lincoln, Augusta, Butte, Ennis, Lima, Bozeman, and Deer Lodge.
DPHHS is in the process of distributing 222 of the units statewide, including 46 to this week’s participants. The units cost about $11,000 each, which equates to $2.4 million of the total funds.
The 222 Lucas 2 devices are enough to equip every Montana community that has an organized EMS service with the staff and vehicle to respond. They will all be distributed by June 2016.
The training includes how to use the Lucas 2 device, as well as practice in high performance CPR. High performance CPR means compressions are never interrupted or stopped unless absolutely necessary. According to Janet Trethewey, program manager for DPHHS Cardiac Ready Communities, in emergency situations involving cardiac arrest, time is of the essence. “The Lucas 2 device is another tool EMS can use to provide quality CPR and will help them save more lives,” she said.
She expects the broad introduction of the automatic compression devices in Montana to be a difference-maker since they allow CPR to be performed longer and more consistently. She said that studies show two people can only perform ‘high performance’ CPR for 5-10 minutes due to fatigue.
Trethewey added the devices are able to sustain a higher blood flow to the brain and heart compared to manual compressions. Nationally, when high performance CPR is used, patient outcomes are increasing from a historical 0-5 percent survival to outcomes reaching 40 to 50 percent in some parts of the U.S., she said.
Trethewey said over one-quarter of all deaths in Montana are attributed to cardiovascular disease. When a heart attack occurs, a fast and accurate medical response is crucial. Each minute that the heart is deprived of oxygen increases the chances of damaging or destroying part of the heart muscle. “Enhancing the chain of survival will help Montana improve heart attack care which will mean better outcomes for these patients,” she said.
EMS and Trauma Systems, DPHHS
The DPHHS EMS and Trauma Systems Section is the state's lead agency responsible for the development of a comprehensive emergency medical services program for Montanans. It is the vision of the Section that the development of comprehensive emergency medical, trauma and injury prevention programs is imperative to the well-being, health and safety of Montana citizens. As such, the section's overall mission is to reduce death and disability by providing leadership and coordination in the planning and development of a comprehensive, evidence-based emergency care system.