Vancouver Fire Department wins grant for medical equipment

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The Vancouver Fire Department will use a federal Assistance to Firefighters grant to replace 10 outdated cardiac defibrillators with more sophisticated cardiac monitor/defibrillators, according to a news release issued Thursday.

The department received $237,400.

"Most of Vancouver Fire Department's cardiac defibrillators have been in use since 1998," said Captain Jay Getsfrid, EMS officer. "They were outdated five years ago, are no longer produced and manufacturer support is phasing out. These new monitors are state of the art and will be much more useful in emergency treatment."

The advanced units (known as Lifepaks) not only monitor heart rhythms, shock hearts back into normal rhythms and provide pacemakers when needed, but they take blood pressure, diagnose heart attacks and measure vital blood gases. The new units will have updated technology including the ability to measure carbon monoxide levels in the blood.

Each unit costs about $25,000. The department will match the grant with $60,000 of existing funds.

"I'm just thrilled," said Vancouver Fire Chief Joe Molina. "As a former paramedic, I have seen firsthand how this type of heart monitor equipment saves lives."

The new units are expected to be in service this spring.