“They save lives:” Old Town Fire & Rescue receives new automatic CPR machines

Published: Jan. 8, 2023 at 4:26 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

OLD TOWN, Maine (WABI) - When duty calls, LUCAS answers.

The automatic CPR machine is one of two new additions to the Old Town Fire and Rescue crew, and it’s set to make a big difference.

“It’s superior because it’s a computer, and it does more effective CPR,” Old Town Fire and Rescue Captain Adam Martell said. “It makes sure the depth of the compressions are accurate. The quality of the compressions, it allows for complete chest recoil.”

“It’s going to provide compressions until we ask the machine to stop,” Old Town Fire and Rescue Lieutenant Taylor Haines said.

Each LUCAS costs $20,000 - a price partially funded by the City of Old Town and grant funding. It opens up new care possibilities when faced with long distance rural calls, sometimes an hour from the nearest hospital.

“We’re not allowed to do CPR going down the road anymore in the back of an ambulance,” Martell said. “But with this device, you are allowed to do it now, because your CPR is just more adequate and more efficient.”

“With this machine, we’re actually now able to shock the patient while it’s going, which is great,” Haines said.

The team learned the value of the LUCAS machines before they even got theirs.

“Our shift alone has done CPR three times in the last month,” Martell said. “We were lucky enough to use Orono’s device at one of the last ones we had, because they came to help us, we were short-staffed. The device had a big impact. It frees up some other people to do some other skills that are much needed on cardiac arrest calls.”

The machines require proper training for use, just like traditional CPR. Captain Martell says he doesn’t expect to see them in public places like malls or schools yet, but for short-staffed departments with a wide response range, it’s a perfect fit.

“It makes us very lucky, we’re very fortunate to have them,” Martell said. “They save lives.”