East Fork one of Nevada’s five heart-safe communities
The sunset of the Jacks Valley Volunteer Fire Department contributed to the purchase of one of five new automated external defibrillators.
Jacks Valley volunteers were looking for a way to close out their accounts and provide a legacy for the department.
The value of having an available defibrillator was punctuated when a former member of the department, who works as a supervisor in Douglas County Dispatch, suffered a heart attack.
East Fork Deputy Chief Dave Fogerson said the 40-year-old man experienced chest pain, but didn’t want to go to the doctor.
“His wife talked him into stopping by an East Fork Fire station,” Forgerson said. “While there, he was placed on a cardiac monitor where the firefighter-paramedics saw changes to his heart’s electrical activity indicating a heart attack was occurring. He was immediately transported to the cardiac cath lab for treatment. He left the hospital a few days later after undergoing bypass surgery because his issue was too great for treatment in the cath lab. He is back on the dispatch floor today because of the technology, professional expertise of our firefighter/paramedics, doctors, nurses and a loving wife who made him seek help.”
Fogerson said the new devices cost $40,000 each, and allows a medic to see the heart through a dozen different views, monitor oxygen and carbon monoxide levels in the blood and exhaled air, takes blood pressures and also provides electrical energy for the paramedic to alter the heart’s activity.
“Our current cache is aging in technology years: they are over 10 years old,” Fogerson said. “Every paramedic unit at East Fork maintains one of these units, including our paramedic engine companies.”
A group, led by Firefighter-Paramedic Derek Jackson, evaluated three different cardiac monitors before selecting the Zoll cardiac monitor.
Due to the district’s participation in purchasing with several regional agencies, the cost was reduced from $40,000 to $28,000 each, reflecting a total savings of $60,000 for the five units.
“Even at the reduced cost, replacement is difficult for the fire district after seeing annual reductions in revenue due to the impacts of the Affordable Care Act,” Fogerson said. “The district was extremely fortunate to receive community donations to purchase two of them. Carson City Health and Human Services was able to purchase one on a federal public preparedness grant. The second donated unit was funded by the former Jacks Valley Volunteer Fire Department.”
East Fork was able to purchase the three additional units with both budgeted funds and with additional unanticipated revenue.
“We would like to thank the former members of the Jacks Valley Volunteer Fire Department, Carson City Health and Human Services and the Board of Fire Commissioners for the donation of funds and approval of additional funds respectively, for the purchase of the five new cardiac monitors,” Fogerson said.
Douglas 911 provides hands-only CPR instructions and a list of defibrillators to send someone for one if its close to the scene.
Douglas County Sheriff’s deputies respond to all cardiac arrest calls to assist with CPR and a defibrillator if they arrive first.
“We partner with a cardiac cath lab to bring patients directly to the cath lab for immediate repair when indicated thus saving precious time,” Fogerson said.