PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — The St. Lucie County Fire District responds to multiple calls per day for cardiac arrest.
Now, rescue crews have a new tool to use when responding to those calls that they say improves outcomes.
Because the fire district received funds from the CARES Act, the fire district this month was able to add a Lucas device to every rescue truck, which wasn't otherwise in the budget.
The device acts as a hands-free CPR machine, and each unit costs at least $15,000.
"Equipping 20 front-line ambulances, 20 front-line rescue trucks, that's a large number to come up with," Battalion Chief Daniel Mikels said.
Mikels said the Lucas device helps speed up the time someone in cardiac arrest gets to the hospital, serving as an extra set of hands so paramedics can tend to other tasks.
"Before the Lucas device was brought into play, we would stay 20 minutes on scene and then transport somebody in cardiac arrest," Mikels said.
It also keeps a steady rhythm without worrying about rescuers wearing out.
"You don't have people performing CPR in the back of truck, bouncing down our roadways that we have here," Mikels said.
The new devices qualified for CARES Act funding because they also help promote social distancing between rescuers and the patient.
"When someone dials 911, they want someone that's well trained, but they want them well equipped," Mikels said.