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Fort Worth Fire Department adds new medical equipment during COVID-19 pandemic

Posted May 20, 2020

group of firefighters use the device on a plastic dummy
Firefighters demonstrate use of the Defibtech device, which performs continuous compressions on a patient.

The Fort Worth Fire Department (FWFD) has added two new advanced medical devices to aid in patient care.

Ten mechanical CPR devices have been deployed throughout the city and are deployed with responding units on cardiac arrest calls. The device is manufactured by Defibtech and allows hands-free compressions during cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

Before the COVID-19 outbreak, FWFD deployed eight firefighter/EMTs to each cardiac arrest call. The pandemic changed that response number to help reduce the number of firefighters who could potentially be exposed.

The Defibtech device provides continued compressions, which have been proven to increase the odds of survival for the patient, but does not require more hands to perform those compressions.

There are also 15 AirTraq SP video laryngoscopy devices that will be deployed to units that have FWFD paramedics assigned to them. During a cardiac arrest, there is a need to secure an airway in the patient. This is commonly accomplished with an endotracheal tube. The current practice is to be face to face with the patient and visually see the tube pass into the patient’s airway. The AirTaq provides paramedics a safer alternative with a video camera that allows personnel to be farther away from the patient, reducing possible exposure.

“The Fort Worth Fire Department is committed to providing the highest level of care to the citizens of Fort Worth,” said Fire Chief James Davis. “With the assistance of the Office of the Medical Director, we are providing tools and training for our paramedics to do that.”

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