A day in the life of a Coon Rapids firefighter doesn’t necessarily involve fire. In fact, of the approximately 6,500 calls the Fire Department answers each year, roughly 72 percent are medical related issues.
Since April, firefighters have been using an innovative new tool when treating patients in cardiac arrest called EleGARD. The device slides under a patient and slowly raises the head 30 degrees during a two minute interval, while emergency responders administer CPR. The product designer says elevating a patient’s head will reduce the concussion-like effect caused by the rush of blood to the brain during CPR.
Coon Rapids Fire and first responders in West Palm Beach, FL were the first departments to implement the new technology. Andover Fire Department has since implemented the EleGARD system as well. The departments received the boards at no cost as part of a pilot program to measure the success of the device.
The strong success rate of the City’s first responders, as well as the department’s proximity to Allina’s Mercy Hospital, were factors in selecting Coon Rapids Fire for the pilot program. The City’s fire department has a strong partnership with Allina Health’s Emergency Medical Service. Dr. Charles Lick, the medical director of Allina EMS, is overseeing the pilot program and researching how to best implement the new device on a broader scale.
One EleGARD board is now on each of the department’s three rescue trucks and crews are already trained and using the devices to treat patients.