Staff report

Melissa City Council has approved the purchase of a device that will assist the city’s Fire Department personnel in saving the lives of cardiac arrest victims.

Called LUCAS, the portable, electric-powered piece of medical equipment works by automating the life-saving chest compressions that are a primary component of cardiopulmonary resuscitation, better known as CPR.

The system provides consistent compressions without interruption or variance, delivering 100 chest compressions per minute or two compressions per second. These can help the heart beat in a regular rhythm.

CPR is the fastest and most effective method for restoring the heart’s natual rhythm, which can help to keep cardiac arrest sufferers alive as they are transported to a hospital or other medical facility.

Designed with a suction cup-shaped plunger, the LUCAS device lifts the chest, causing the heart to more quickly and easily fill with blood.

Melissa Fire Department personnel have been fully trained to use the LUCAS device.

“The use of CPR is a lifesaving technique that we are all trained in,” Melissa Fire Department Division Chief Chad Reed said. “We know it saves lives and we know how to apply it. What we often don’t know are the circumstances under which we will be applying CPR, and how they will affect us.”

There are factors that can limit the effectiveness of CPR, which requires the performace of steady, uninterrupted chest compressions.

Those performing the technique may become fatigued or lack sufficient space to properly apply compressions. These and the and other factors can prove devastating for victims.

The LUCAS device “can provide CPR in a very small space for an extended period,” Reed explained, and allows the department’s paramedics and firefighters “the freedom to administer other lifesaving medications or prepare the victim for transport. It’s like having an extra set of hands devoted specifically for this purpose.”