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Handtevy: First responders on the Treasure Coast using new tools, protocols to save young lives

Posted at 4:01 AM, Sep 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-19 06:12:35-04

HOBE SOUND, Fla. — For first responders, every second counts and when it's a child's life on the line, there's often added stress.

There are now new tools in place for first responders to save young lives on the Treasure Coast.

When 4-year-old Dominic Mancini of Hobe Sound was just 11 weeks old, he had a medical emergency.

“And I gave over this lifeless little boy, and it’s really scary," recalled Dominic's mother Karla Mancini.

First responders helped save the day then, and this week, the Mancini family stopped by their local fire station.

Karla Mancini is a nurse, and she wanted to see the newest emergency tool kit, called Handtevy, that Martin County is using for pediatric patients.

“It is a system that allows us to treat pediatric patients with the same confidence level that we treat adults," said Martin County Fire Rescue Bureau Chief Heather Crary.

Crary says the equipment is color coated based on the patient's age, and there’s no second guessing dosages when giving life-altering drugs to their smallest patients.

“This is someone’s child, and there’s a whole different emotional dynamic," said Crary.

Firefighter/Paramedic Faye McAlpine has two young children of her own.

“It takes away the nervousness that you would feel when you approach a pediatric situation," said McAlpine.

Handtevy is in use in all fire districts from Martin County south.

One of the important pieces of equipment in a Handtevy bag for paramedics is a unique tape measure. Starting at the child’s head, they are measured and that helps paramedics determine the appropriate dosage.

In St. Lucie County, a fire rescue committee worked for the last year and a half to create their own protocol, which they just rolled out this month. It has cards to classify burn severity and also dosage cards for patients based on their age.

“For them to have to stop and have to do math, on top of all of that, not only delays things, but also adds to the level of stress because you know you have to move quickly," said St. Lucie Fire Rescue Lt. Richard Hall.

Hall says the new kits allow paramedics to work longer on scene before needing to transport a patient.

The Mancinis are grateful knowing that families who experience the same type of emergency they did will benefit from this new system.

“They have the tools which are invaluable to help our little people become who they are," said Karla Mancini.