Automated CPR machine helps save life after Kent Co. crash

COURTLAND TOWNSHIP, Mich. -- It's a life-saving technique being made even better by technology.  A new automated CPR machine is taking the place of manual compressions, and this weekend it helped save a life in Kent County.

The device is called the Defibtech Lifeline Arm, and it can take the place of six medics. CPR requires about 100 chest compressions a minute, and that can quickly make even the strongest person tired.

On Sunday, Courtland Township Fire and Rescue got to see the new machine in action for the first time.  It only takes 45 seconds to set up and weighs less than 15 pounds.

The Defibtech Lifeline Arm is an automated device that does chest compressions for patients having cardiac arrest or who have no pulse. It can also free up personnel who would normally be doing CPR.

"With us being so far from the hospital we have to do CPR longer," said Courtland Township Fire Department Capt. Galen Green. "Sometimes for up to 45 minutes and we have to rotate guys out because manual CPR is very exhausting."

Designed for minimal interruption CPR, it provides consistent depth and rate.

"And the device will fit just about anybody," Green said. "There are a few restrictions. You need a minimum chest depth of 6 and a half inches or about the size of an 8 year old child. And you have to be able to fit inside it, with about 18 inches width being the max."

The device proved its life-saving ability Sunday in Courtland Township when a man was found without a pulse after a car crash on 10 Mile Road.

"It really was an effective, easy set-up and it was hands off once we got it going," said Gabriel Scelonc, the fire department's training coordinator.

Scelonc says the device got a pulse going in the patient and helped save his life.

"The vehicle was on fire and our firefighters, because they weren't doing compressions, were able to help put the fire out," Scelong said. "It was immensely helpful."

The price for the Defibtech Lifeline Arm is $11,500, and officials say it was worth every penny. The Courtland Township Fire Department will be showing theirs off at their pancake breakfast later this month.

The weekend crash remains under investigation.

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