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North Adams Ambulance Getting High-Tech Monitors

Staff Reports

The Lifepak 15 has Bluetooth technology.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The North Adams Ambulance Service will be adding the latest state-of-the-art equipment to its life-saving arsenal thanks to a $126,500 Federal Emergency Management Agency grant.

Manager John Meaney Jr. said the service will use the award to replace its decade-old Lifepak equipment — used as both cardiac monitors and automated external defibrillators — with new Lifepak 15 units with Bluetooth technology.

"This equipment will allow us to transmit EKGs into emergency rooms capable of receiving this information," said Meaney. While North Adams Regional Hospital is still working on that technology, larger hospitals are already putting it into use, he said. "When local hospital are able to connect to these, we'll be ready."

The new monitors will also be able to monitor blood pressure and carbon monoxide, which will come in handy when treating firefighters at fire scenes.

The units cost about $25,000 each. The service will replace the four current Lifepak 12s and purchase a fifth one
to replace an AED in the fifth ambulance of its expanded fleet.

Meaney estimated the Lifepaks are used on 80 percent of the service's calls. The 12-lead units (referring to its monitoring system) are also required as part of the service's paramedica capability.

The Assistance to Firefighters grant, authorized through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, is one of several awarded to emergency services and fire companies in the Berkshires; some 57 grants totaling more than $5 million were awarded in Massachusetts. Emergency medical technician Amalio Jusino wrote the grant in his role as a principal of Emergency Response Consulting.

This is the second time that the service has received this grant. It was awarded some $73,000 in 2006 for protective clothing and training, the first time the grants had been used for emergency medical services.

Meaney said they were informed of the latest grant by U.S. Sen. John Kerry's office last week.

"These will be definitely beneficial for our patients and we'll be able to do a lot more information at the scene," said Meaney.
 

 

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Got a Degree? Be a Judge!

Staff Reports

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — It's good news, and bad.

The 6th annual Region 1 Science Fair is expected to the biggest yet. The fair brings in students from around Berkshire County and parts of Western Mass. to showcase their explorations of technology and science.

Past fair winners have researched carcinogens, yawning, high-tech football gloves, wind power, adaptive tools for the handicapped and mealworms as a protein source, among other topics.

But the large number of participants — more than 100 — means more qualified judges are needed. The fair winners will go on to the State Science Fair competition in May at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and some may eventually participate in national and international fairs.

What do you need to be a judge? A degree or work experience in biology, behavioral and social science, biochemistry, botany, chemistry, computer science, earth and space science, engineering, environmental science, mathematics, medicine, microbiology, physics or zoology.

Local businesses also are encouraged to get involved by allowing their qualified employees to volunteer for the event.

The science fair is an important element of the nationwide push to involve students in science, engineering and math programs. It is being hosted by Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and the Berkshire STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) Pipeline Group.

The fair will be held on Friday, March 12, at MCLA from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Region 1 includes Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden, and Hampshire counties.

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State Lets the Sun Shine More

Staff Reports

NORTH ADAMS,  Mass. — Solar enthusiasts and citizens looking to try renewable energy will be happy to note the state's pouring more money into a popular rebate program solar panels.

How popular? Well, the $68 million Commonwealth Solar fund ran out of money in 22 months and it was supposed to last three to four years.

According to The Boston Globe, the Department of Energy Resources has fast-tracked a new, albeit less flush, program that will pump some $4 million a year to homeowners and businesses across the state for solar projects that generate up to 5 kilowatts of energy.

Even better, there's no sun set, or end, date to this program. Instead, it's based on the hope that now pricey solar systems — averaging $33,500 — will drop in cost as they become more commonplace.

Don't forget the governor's set a goal of the state generating 250 megawatts of solar energy by 2017.

There are a few solar-system installers in the area and more Berkshire businesses are looking skyward, despite the recent gray skies. Country Curtains was the most recent.

You can find more on state and federal incentives for solar at the DSIRE site here.

 

 

 

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