Summit County Ambulance Service gears up
January 8, 2010
FRISCO – Paramedics as well as ambulance patients may benefit from equipment that Summit County Ambulance Service recently purchased with government grants.
Eleven cutting-edge cardiac monitors will offer more efficient detection of heart problems, and the included defibrillators deliver “the most effective shock possible,” said Summit County paramedic Bill Clark.
The ambulance service employees also received high-visibility, European-style uniforms complete with gloves and glow-in-the-dark helmets.
Interim Summit County Ambulance director Marc Burdick said the uniforms were designed “one of a kind” for the needs of local paramedics.
The cardiac monitors cost a total of about $316,000, and five are already in use; six more are expected to arrive in February. The Zoll E-Series heart monitors replace equipment that was about 10 years old.
Finances came through the Federal Emergency Management Agency-administered Assistance for Firefighters Grants to match finances from the ambulance service’s capital budget.
The uniforms, which cost $32,000 at about $550 each, were fully funded through a grant from the Emergency Medical and Trauma Services division of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Burdick said.
Summit County Ambulance deputy director James Woodworth said the uniforms not only insulate against cold weather but offer padding for protection when responding to rescues and vehicle accidents.
He said the local ambulance service employees had input on the final product from AllMed, a company based in Jefferson, Mo.
The helmets have eye-protecting, retractable visors and are intended to improve visibility both during day and night operations.
A Park County ambulance attending a highway accident scene was recently struck by a sport-utility vehicle, causing injury to two paramedics and three other people on the scene.
Burdick said “chevron-pattern” reflective materials are being installed on ambulances to further improve visibility.
The new cardiac monitors give more detail of what is occurring in a person’s heart through additional “leads,” or sensors used to produce a patient’s electrocardiogram. The defibrillator senses impedance and adjusts the shock power appropriately to the patient’s body type. The equipment also gives paramedics feedback on compressions during CPR.
“The upgrade to the E-series cardiac monitors represents a significant clinical improvement in the monitoring and treatment of all our patients,” Burdick said in a press release.