This page highlights how AFG funded equipment helped save lives in Halifax, MA. This page is intended for fire departments and nonaffiliated Emergency Medical Service organizations (EMS).
AFG-Funded Equipment Helps Save a Life in Massachusetts
Due to 91% of its budget allocated for personnel costs, the Halifax Fire Department in Halifax, MA needed some extra help when funding the remaining 9% of its budget for operating costs, such as building and vehicle maintenance, training, utilities and miscellaneous equipment. Without federal funding, there was little room for capital expenditure. The department, which protects a city of almost 94,000, was excited to receive a 2014 AFG Grant for $23,469 for two Lucas automated chest compression devices.
“The device allows us to provide a higher level of patient care by delivering uninterrupted, quality, chest compressions,” said Department Chief Jason Viveiros. “Firefighters are safer because they don’t need to be standing while doing chest compressions in a moving ambulance while unbelted.”
It didn’t take long for Chief Viveiros and his team to know that this purchase made a difference. They received the grant award in April 2015 and obtained the items in June, followed by two hours of state-approved continuing education training for all its firefighters. The following month, that training would be put to use when the device helped to save a life. The very first time it was used in the field, the automated chest compression device helped successfully resuscitate a cardiac arrest patient while keeping the firefighters safe in the ambulance.
“CPR was formally administered in a moving ambulance by firefighters that were not restrained,” said Viveiros said of the incident. “Statistically unrestrained firefighters are four times more likely to suffer an incapacitating or fatal injury if involved in an accident.
The Halifax Fire Department, which is a combination paid/on call department with 33 active members, provide ALES level transport ambulance service and responds to 1,400 annual emergency calls. Because of the federal award, they were able to put an automated chest compression device in each of their ambulances to better serve their community.
“While it can never be known if we would have been able to resuscitate the patient without the machine, I can say that the firefighters were able to do their job safer and more effectively,” said Viveiros.
He believes the equipment purchased would not have happened without AFG funding.
“The grant experience has been wonderful. As a result, both the community and our firefighters are safer. We will continue to apply for all grants that will help us fund worthwhile projects and enhance firefighter safety.”