By Liz Shepherd
WARSAW — Firefighters with Warsaw-Wayne Fire Territory gave an Autopulse device demonstration during a WWFT board meeting on Tuesday, May 4.
Autopulses are mechanical CPR devices used in cardiac arrests. The device squeezes the patient’s entire chest to improve blood flow to the heart and brain.
Kosciusko County has a total of 17 Autopulse devices, with WWFT having three for the territory. In an April board meeting, firefighters discussed how Autopulse has improved return of pulses and survival rate for patients. In 2019, prior to having the devices, WWFT got pulses back 22% of the time, with a survival rate of 9%. For 2020, WWFT utilized Autopulse 24 times and got pulses back 11 times.
WWFT Captain Brian Zehring, alongside firefighters Colyn Iden, Lucas Ellsworth and Jason Neher, ran the demonstration for board members.
“It’s freed up a lot of time,” said Zehring about the devices. “We can do a lot more stuff (to help patients) now that we’re free from doing chest compressions. This compresses a lot better than we do. It does compression and recoil better than we can.”
“This frees up manpower while we’re working to get people out of vehicles,” said Ellsworth on how the usage of Autopulse devices is beneficial during vehicle accidents involving multiple people.
In other business, the board also heard an update on WWFT’s five-year capital facilities asset plan.
Fire Chief Mike Wilson said the territory is looking at bringing in external sources to look at the asset plan.
“The importance of bringing someone in from the state level or a chief from another department is to get an extra set of eyes from the outside, as well as someone from the EMS world, to come in and look at what we’re doing to make sure we’re on the right path for what community growth is going to be,” said Wilson.
Wilson said that individuals will be brought before the board in the next two months for approval to have their involvement in looking over WWFT’s plans.
“By having them look at that is making sure your fire territory is on the right path for growth,” said Wilson.
The board also learned that Alicia Elder will act as interim director for Lutheran EMS, as Scott Sigerfoos stepped down from the position.
WWFT Board’s next meeting is at 4 p.m. Tuesday, June 1.