Colfax EMS Association awarded $62,000 Bremer grant for defibrillators

By LeAnn R. Ralph

COLFAX — The Colfax EMS Association has been awarded a $62,000 grant by the Otto Bremer Foundation for the purchase of two new Zoll cardiac monitors and defibrillators.

Representatives for the EMS Association planned to meet with a company representative on December 17 to finalize the order for the equipment, said Jessica Erickson, president of the Colfax EMS Association.

 The new cardiac monitors that also are defibrillators could be available for use in Colfax sometime in January, she said.

A defibrillator is a machine that administers a controlled electric shock to the heart to correct a fluttering heartbeat.

The new equipment will be faster and more accurate than the equipment currently being used by the Colfax EMTs, Erickson said.

The current equipment can take up to a minute to establish a blood pressure; the new cardiac monitors will give a blood pressure reading every 15 seconds, Erickson said.

The new monitors also will have wireless capabilities so that the information can be transmitted to the receiving hospital, she said.

A few minutes can make a big difference when a cardiac patient is in critical condition, Erickson said.

“We often use a cardiac monitoring system to check vital signs and transmit 12-lead EKG information,” she noted.

“This is critical in the diagnosis and early intervention of cardiac pathologies, such as heart attacks and/or strokes,” Erickson said.

“Because the technology has become better, the current cardiac and vital signs monitoring system has become outdated and is sometimes ineffective,” she said.

According to information from the company that manufactures the monitors, the Zoll X series is the first defibrillator with integrated WiFi for handling data.

The new monitors will allow monitoring of vital signs, defibrillation, and Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) quality monitoring.

The new Zoll monitors “will provide a greater level of technology. EMTs will have information about compression depth and rate during CPR and that will enhance the quality of care,” Erickson said.

“The updated monitors could be used on every patient who enters our ambulance to monitor blood pressure, oxygen saturation and pulse. The monitors will complement our current equipment, such as the Life-Stats and the tablet computers,” she said.

The Colfax Rescue Squad is an IV-Tech Advanced EMT service, Erickson noted.

“We have better capabilities in some areas than some services in bigger cities,” she said.

Because of the level of training for the EMTs, the service’s medical director and the equipment available, the Colfax Rescue Squad is considered to be quite progressive among EMS services in the state, Erickson said.

Although most — if not all — of the members of the EMS Association are also EMTs with the Colfax Rescue Squad, the EMS Association is separate from the rescue squad.