Nikiski gives Hope Sunrise EMS way to save more lives

Posted: Monday, November 22, 2004

A donation of two cardiac monitors from the Nikiski Fire Department will help Hope Sunrise Emergency Medical Services save lives, according to the EMS chief.

"Not only does this provide us with newer technology in (electrocardiograph) monitoring in the prehospital environment, it allows us to gain access to information about in-depth cardiac function that helps us make better decisions about which drugs and care our patients may need," Chief Valerie DeFrance said in a news release.

The Nikiski Fire Department was equipped with newer heart monitoring devices, creating a surplus of Marquette heart monitors, two of which were donated to Hope Sunrise.

"We now have new Zoll-M Series monitors, which allow three-lead and 12-lead defibrillation and pacing; END-TIDAL CO2 for monitoring exhaled air for the amount of carbon dioxide present; SP O2 monitoring, which measures the percentage of oxygen in the blood; and non-invasive blood pressure monitoring," said Senior Capt. Craig Ralston, EMS coordinator for the Nikiski department.

He said the equipment the Hope Sunrise medics had was old and worn out and not able to pace, which is electrically adding a low-voltage shock to the body to increase the heart rate.

According to Ralston, the Marquette monitors can defibrillate, pace and be set up for first responders to use as automatic external defibrillators, or AEDs.

DeFrance said the heart monitors can be used by emergency medical technicians as semi-automatic external defibrillators with more advanced functions locked out.

If used by advanced-level emergency medical providers, the functions could be accessed to perform 12-lead monitoring, she said.

"Obviously we are extremely grateful that Nikiski has decided to donate the equipment to our group," DeFrance said.

Hope Sunrise EMS serves Hope and Sunrise and the areas surrounding the towns, as well as portions of the Hope and Seward highways.

The service is all volunteer, and DeFrance said one of the cardiac monitors can cost as much as $20,000, an amount the EMS group would have difficulty obtaining.

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