The Fire Districts of Contra Costa County recently received a substantial grant for 70 state of the art Physio Control LIFEPAK 15 (LP-15) cardiac monitor/defibrillators. The funds were obtained with the assistance of a FEMA grant and Measure H funds provided by the Contra Costa County Health Department along with a $360,000 discount obtained through American Medical Response’s (AMR) national vendor contract.
“Given the current economic climate and limited financial resources available to the County, acquiring these monitors at virtually no cost to fire districts was a huge win for our communities and the patients we treat,” said EMS Battalion Chief, Ben Smith. The total cost of the 70 units amounts to approximately $3 million. Virtually all of the cost was paid for by the funds obtained from the FEMA grant with additional funds made available through the Contra Costa County Health Department.
The LP-15’s advanced detection and monitoring systems allow emergency personnel to identify a very deadly but treatable cardiac condition (heart attack) known as a STEMI. This advanced technology allows the providers in the field to communicate with hospital emergency departments to prepare for immediate intervention in these cases. “Lives will be saved on a regular basis because of this advancement.” Smith said.
“When we started down the path of securing these monitors for our county fire service agencies, we knew it was going to be tough finding the funding,” said Smith. “The fact that we now have them clearly demonstrates the dedication and commitment that the County Fire agencies, Contra Costa County Health and AMR have to improving patient care in our county.”
The LP-15’s were officially delivered by Physio Control on December 6, and will be fully operational in the field by January 1, 2013, after fire crews have been fully trained on how to operate the new equipment. The new monitors will be used by the San Ramon Valley, Moraga-Orinda, Rodeo-Hercules, and Contra Costa County Fire Districts and the City of Pinole Fire Department.
While the new equipment will assist the fire service in saving lives during cardiac emergencies, the public still plays a critical role – if someone is experiencing chest pain, people should call 911 immediately without delay.
Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach, shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort. Other signs may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness. Anyone experiencing these symptoms needs to call 911 immediately.