Feb. 17—All eight of Lincoln Fire and Rescue’s medic units will be equipped with the latest emergency medical response and cardiac care technology thanks to a $2.2 million investment from the city, officials announced Friday.
The new equipment includes 35 cardiac monitors that will alert first responders earlier to changes in a patient’s heart condition and a dozen “power cots” that could lift 750-pound patients without human assistance, said Jamie Pospisil, the department’s chief of emergency medical services.
Altogether, the new equipment — which also includes 20 heart rhythm simulators, six automatic external defibrillators and 12 “stair chairs” that help responders move patients up and down stairs — is meant to reduce the strain on firefighters and paramedics while helping improve patient outcomes, Fire Chief Dave Engler said.
“The new equipment will also make certain that the members of our community are getting the best patient care,” Engler said at a Friday news conference at Lincoln Fire and Rescue Station No. 15, where he appeared alongside Pospisil, Medical Director Noah Bernhardson and Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird.
Also added are eight automated compression delivery devices, which replace the need for first responders to hand-deliver chest compressions when performing CPR.
The department’s seven regularly used medic units — along with an eighth medic unit Engler activated earlier this month to serve during peak call hours to ease paramedic workload — will be outfitted with the equipment, which officials repeatedly said would be “lifesaving.”
Lincoln Fire and Rescue reserve medic units, which are deployed when all normal medic units are out on calls, will also be equipped with the department’s latest purchases, which Engler said were included in the agency’s annual budget.
And each of the department’s engine companies will also be equipped with a state-of-the-art cardiac monitor, Pospisil said.
The city is leasing the equipment from Stryker Sales, a medical equipment manufacturing company, for $2.19 million over the course of 49 months, paid in annual installments of $439,000, according to the city’s lease agreement with the company.
Pospisil said the city will have to replace the equipment when the lease period ends.
The equipment is meant to provide an additional boost to the city’s response to cardiac arrest calls — an area where Lincoln Fire and Rescue already excels, with a cardiac arrest survival rate that is more than double the national average.
Bernhardson, the department’s medical director, credited that success both to the agency’s medics and Lincoln’s residents, who, as bystanders, provided CPR in 70.8% of the 141 non-traumatic cardiac events in 2022, he said.
The national average for bystander intervention is 40.8%, he said.
“This is an outstanding contribution by the members of the Lincoln community,” Bernhardson said, before encouraging all residents to learn to administer CPR.
For Gaylor Baird, Friday’s announcement marked the latest in a series of news conferences where the mayor has touted her office’s investment in the city’s public safety agencies — a theme that has become a hallmark of her reelection campaign.
“As Lincoln grows, my administration continues to prioritize public safety investments in our city budget that keep you, your families and our first responders safe,” she said. “Those investments are contributing to impressive results.”
Earlier this month, the mayor announced that the Lincoln Police Department’s Special Victims Unit had moved into the BraveBe Child Advocacy Center following a public-private expansion of the center, which was predominantly funded by a private fundraising campaign.
And last week, Gaylor Baird unveiled a $400,000 federal grant the city received from the U.S. Department of Transportation to help create a traffic safety action plan in an effort to eliminate traffic fatalities in Lincoln.
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