Small Johnson Co. fire department hoping to raise money for life-saving device

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JOHNSON COUNTY, Ind – A small volunteer fire department in Johnson County is raising money to purchase an automatic CPR machine that has already proven to be a lifesaver in central Indiana.

The Amity Fire Department has recently been testing a LUCAS CPR machine on a trial basis. The device can be attached to a patient and provide non-stop consistent chest compressions.

“I’ve been in the fire service since June of 1975, and as far as the EMS field goes, providing patent care, this is probably one of the biggest strides I’ve seen in my time,” said Amity Fire Chief Jackie Brockman.

A couple of weeks ago, members of the Amity Fire Department brought the machine with them on a call about a patient in cardiac arrest. After attaching the machine to the woman and activating the device, her body was revived in about eight minutes.

“Pulse and respiration back, and we were able to transport the patient to the hospital,” Brockman said.

Sadly, the woman never woke up after arriving at the hospital. However, Brockman said reviving her heart and breathing gave her family time with her before life support was disconnected. It also meant her organs were able to be harvested for donation.

“As I understand it, four organs were taken and four people received them,” Brockman said.

Bargersville Assistant Fire Chief Mike Pruitt said his department has revived multiple patients using three LUCAS machines the department owns. Most recently, the device was used to revive a construction who was electrocuted when the excavator he was driving hit a power line.

“It’s non-stop, it never gets tired,” Pruitt said. “We’ve seen the improvement in survivability of our cardiac arrests.”

Aside from providing non-stop consistent chest compressions, the device also frees up an extra set of hands to perform other tasks during an emergency medical situation.

“Doing CPR, anybody that has done it will tell you that it is a taxing operation to do,” Brockman said. “You’ve got to have two or three people on standby ready to take over, you’ve got to keep rotating. With this machine, you don’t have to do that.”

After seeing the machine’s usefulness first hand, Brockman believes every department should have at least one of the devices, and he is committed to purchasing the one his department is testing. However, the price tag runs about $14,000, which is not in Amity Fire Department’s current budget. 

Brockman is now accepting donations from individuals and businesses who wish to contribute to the purchase of the LUCAS CPR machine. So far, he has raised about a third of what’s needed. 

Anyone interested in donating to the fundraising effort can call Chief Brockman directly at (317) 366-2952.

“Because I think it makes that big of a difference in people’s lives and the chance of saving someone who is in a heart attack.”

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