New Devices Offer Difference Between Life and Breath


REDMOND, OR -- For injured patients, the difference between life and death can mean just a few breaths. Supplying patients with oxygen sometimes depends on a small tube that is precisely inserted through the mouth and into the lungs. The Redmond Fire & Rescue district knows the value of each passing second when a life hangs in the balance, and getting a patient intubated is the pathway to treatment, recovery and life.One component of the wellness and fitness program, the annual physical assessment, has proven to be very valuable to individual members and the District as a whole. Physical assessments have uncovered a number of medical problems among the staff, including the following:

"We were concerned about the safety of our paramedics and the rate of injury to patients during intubation," said Mona Novotny with Redmond Fire & Rescue. "Using standard manual intubation equipment, our paramedics were frequently sprayed with biohazards. Intubation was difficult and often unsuccessful without multiple attempts increasing the rate of infection and recovery time for the patient."

Redmond Fire & Rescue applied for and received a 2009 Assistant to Firefighter Grant. The department used the grant funds to purchase video laryngoscopes with a monitoring device, which is used by the paramedics at a safe distance away from the patients' mouth. The device is especially useful in difficult intubations, decreasing the impact on the patient during procedures. Each of the four ambulances in the department were outfitting with the device.

Within a few weeks of receiving the devices, it was put to use. The EMS Directory responded with crews responded to an elderly cardiac arrest victim, and intubation was successful on the first attempt.

A few weeks later, the device was used again by the EMS Director on a victim of front-end collision with an oncoming vehicle that crossed into his lane.

The victim's car crunched into a small mass, wrapping it around him. Crews had to extricate him from the car. The victim was critically injured, suffering from multiple lacerations, head injuries and a near leg amputation. Paramedics had attempted two times to unsuccessfully intubate the victim using the standard intubation system before the new device got the job done.

What They Bought With The Grant:

  • Nozzles
  • Video laryngoscopes with monitors
  • PPE and air supply for arson/fire investigations team
  • Fire training smoke machine
  • Residential lock boxes
  • Lock boxes with monitoring capability for apparatus
  • Fire prevention and life safety supplies for educational activities

 Fire Department Vital Statistics

  • Residents served: 41,555
  •  Area served: 450 square miles
  •  Department Web Site:
  • Grant: 2009 AFG
  • Grant Amount: $170,537
  • About the department: four stations, 73 employees
  • Answered 3,779 calls in 2009
Last updated February 11, 2021