New technology in fire trucks makes treating heart attacks more efficient - Ahwatukee Foothills News: News

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New technology in fire trucks makes treating heart attacks more efficient

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Posted: Sunday, June 12, 2011 8:00 am

With help from generous private donors, the Phoenix Police Department is updating its technology and making treatment for heart attacks much quicker.

Capt. Scott Walker with the Phoenix Fire Department said there are more than 750,000 heart attacks each year in the U.S. Knowing there is a large need to make treatment of heart attacks quicker and easier, the fire department set out to look for new technology.

The department wanted to increase communication between first responders and local hospitals and make treatment of heart attacks more efficient.

They soon found that the technology they were looking for already existed and many cities around the country were using it.

“Unfortunately the budget cuts we were facing did not allow us the resources to purchase the equipment to make this a reality,” Walker said. “This was something happening in other parts of the country and something we definitely wanted to see happen in Phoenix. One of our captains took this forward-moving attitude to our partners. By their efforts they were willing to come together to improve the lives of citizens.”

The fire department created partnerships with local health care professionals including St. Luke’s Hospital, John C. Lincoln, St. Joseph’s Hospital, Phillips Healthcare, Catholic Healthcare West and Cardiovascular Consultants. As of May 1 the partners had donated $200,000.

All the donations will go towards updating Phoenix Fire Department defibrillators and cell phones inside the truck.

New cell phones will include blue tooth technology so that information that first responders are seeing can be instantly sent to doctors and nurses waiting in the emergency room.

“What this technology allows us to do is when we’re in the field doing the KEDG, we can send it through the monitor, basically through a cell phone, right to an iPad, a laptop, a cell phone, any devices right to the doctor or nurse in the emergency room,” Walker said. “They can immediately begin interpreting what we’re seeing. They can begin preparing the different rooms that the patient may need to go to.”

The fire department believes this new technology could save doctors about 20 minutes and get the patient treated much faster.

Right now about half the trucks in Phoenix have this new technology but by early July all firefighters will be trained and equipment will be updated.

Walker said without a doubt this new technology will help save more lives.

“If you feel chest pain don’t deny, don’t delay, dial 911,” Walker said. “Let us come to your house and test and send this information to the hospital. Let us save your life.”

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