Columbiana EMS seeking grants to purchase automated CPR devices

COLUMBIANA – Performing CPR on a patient in a moving ambulance in transport to a hospital is difficult, that is why the city’s EMS department is seeking a federal grant to purchase automated CPR devices.

EMS Director Tom Farley said the department applied for $16,000 in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funding for two devices, leaving the department responsible for $1,300.

The devices begin CPR on a patient upon arrival and continue until they are at the hospital.

Farley said it is very difficult for EMS personnel to administer CPR in the back of a moving ambulance while trying to maintain their own balance.

The devices are also beneficial on fire calls.

“It does work really well. A lot of cases where a firefighter dies on scene is usually heart-related,” he said.

The department also applied and was approved for funding through the Ohio Bureau of Worker’s Compensation for two ambulance cots and one power loading system.

The grant will fund $40,000 of the total cost of around $62,000, he said.

The department would also like to purchase a second loading system, estimated at $20,000. The plan is to make the purchase this year and divide that cost over two years with potential grant funding, he added.

The power loading systems lift the cots into the back of the ambulance, removing the strain on EMS personnel from lifting the weight alone, which can pose safety hazards for themselves and the patient.

Farley also said the department is looking to increase staff in the future and a facility is needed for overnight employees.

“If we ever look at going part time in the future we need to have facilities where they can stay overnight,” he said.

The department currently operates with two full-time employees who work 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Village Administrative offices on West Friend Street. Farley is a full-time employee.

There are a few part-time shifts being covered currently, but there are no overnight employees. The remainder of shifts are covered on a paid volunteer basis, by employees living near the station who do not need an overnight facility, he explained.

The department will also need to buy more ambulances in the future as the city grows, he said.