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.
Sen. Ben Downing reports that state offices including his own have been getting calls from constituents worried they will be forced to get a swine flu vaccine. Not so, says the senator. "These rumors appear to be part of a deliberate effort to misinform concerned citizens about state and national pandemic response efforts," he writes in his recent e-mail update.
The state's public health commissioner says the Department of Public Health will not call nor authorize mandatory vaccination against the H1N1 flu strain, nor are any other local, state or federal officials calling for it. Find out more at DPH.