homepage logo

Shepherdstown’s Town Council invests in life saving

By Staff | Sep 16, 2016

Chronicle photo by Vanessa McGuigan Shepherdstown mayor, Jim Auxer, left, presents a check in the amount of $10,000 to Marshall DeMeritt of the Shepherdstown Volunteer Fire Department.

For years, the volunteers of the Shepherdstown Fire Department, Inc. watched as surrounding jurisdictions were able to purchase automated CPR devices. “We run a lot of calls with Washington County, MD, Sharpsburg Company 19, and they have had these devices for years, says EMS Chief Marshall DeMeritt, “we’ve been able to see firsthand the benefits of such a device.” Chief DeMeritt continued, “we’ve also watched the Friendship Fire Company of Harpers Ferry use them, and Chief Kain has shared with me the great success his organization has had with them. Unfortunately, we just couldn’t afford one.” The department has now afforded one due to a generous gift of $10,000 from the Shepherdstown Town Council.

Shepherdstown Mayor, Jim Auxer, presents a $10,000 check to EMS Chief Marshall DeMeritt of the Shepherdstown Fire Department. The Lucas 2 CPR Device can be seen between them.

The Shepherdstown Fire Department runs approximately 1100 EMS calls a year in Shepherdstown and the surrounding area. Of those 1100 calls annually, about 55 of them are cardiac arrests. EMS Chief DeMeritt explains that, “as you can imagine, a cardiac arrest is a very intense scenario that requires highly trained individuals. More so than the medications, or even the airway, as outlined in the Journal of Emergency Medicine, the number one life saving measure is high quality CPR. With the gift from the Town Council, we can use a tool to avoid human error, and improve our patient care.” EMS Chief DeMeritt further explains that with manual CPR, many factors come into play including provider fatigue, physical ability limits, focus on several simultaneous tasks, and poor-quality CPR during transportation on a stretcher and in the back of an ambulance. “Just maintaining the proper rate is a major challenge while in the back of an ambulance. The use of automatic mechanical CPR devices, such as the Lucas 2, can provide a consistent rate and depth of compression and is one way of improving the quality of chest compression, and it will also contribute to greater EMS personnel safety by allowing our providers to remain seated in the back of the ambulance,” said EMS Chief DeMeritt.

The Shepherdstown Fire Department was presented the $10,000 check by the Shepherdstown Town Council in the regular Town Council meeting which took place on September 13, 2016 at the Town Hall on King Street in Shepherdstown.