Jefferson County Buys Chest Compression Devices for Area Fire Departments

Jefferson County used Cares Act funding to buy Lucas chest compression systems for local fire departments. The county Sheriff’s Department also bought the devices. (Photo by Solomon Crenshaw Jr.)

Thursday was show and tell day at the Jefferson County Courthouse as the County Commission displayed life-saving devices it was able to provide to area fire departments with Cares Act funds.

“We have purchased 95 Lucas devices, which are chest compression devices, and we’ve also purchased 82 devices which are monitors,” Commission President Jimmie Stephens said before the commission meeting. “They also analyze and have regulation capabilities. This improves the amount of medical response that we’re able to give.”

The devices were distributed among 55 fire departments throughout Jefferson County. Additionally, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s office bought an additional 50 Lucas devices for its patrol units.

“When you’re given lemons through a pandemic like this, through the county commission working with all of our EMS personnel and the county manager’s office, we’re able to make lemonade,” Stephens said.

Commissioner Lashunda Scales called the use of the $4.1 million in Cares Act funds “a life-saving, game-changer for the county. I think that we’ve been able to very smartly get this Care’s Act money out to our communities.”

Michael A. Bartlett, assistant fire chief of the Rocky Ridge Fire District, said budget constraints would have kept his and other fire departments from purchasing these devices.

“When people are in cardiac arrest, their chance for survival is very low,” Bartlett said, adding that these devices increase the survival rate tremendously. “To push that out countywide within the parameters of the COVID and Cares Act funding and the timeframe we’re having to work with, it’s been a challenge. But we made it happen. I’m so proud and so grateful that we’re able to distribute this for the people that we serve.”