GVFD receives new equipment

For improved responses on emergency medical calls, the Golden Valley Fire Department has purchased two automatic external defiberators.

The funds came from a state grant.

The $8,500 grant came from the Arizona Bureau of Emergency Medical Services, GVFD Chief Harry Nystedt said.

Each defiberator can be placed on the fire vehicles based at the two stations in Golden Valley, instead of shifting the one existing defiberator back and forth between the stations.

The old defiberator, bought in 1989, cost $7,000 and is outdated and more complicated to use.

"The old model weighed a lot," Nystedt said.

"At two pounds, this one is much better, plus the technology is much better.

The machine does all the thinking."

All firefighters trained as emergency medical technicians can use the new machines.

Training can be done in a couple of hours at a cardiopulmonary resuscitation class, instead of 24 hours of more complex training, GVFD Capt.

Rudy Barboa said.

"The technology has changed dramatically," Barboa said.

"It is much more user- friendly."

The machine is used with a simple three-button procedure.

During a stroke or heart attack or other medical emergency, the heart can start fiberating or beating chaotically.

The defiberator shocks the heart back to a more synchronized rhythm, Nystedt said.

"This has to be done as rapidly as possible," he said.

Barboa said with the growing population of Golden Valley, the number of medical calls is in turn increasing.

About 60 percent of all calls are medical related, he said.

GVFD has 15 firefighters, all are trained EMTs.

Of those, six are trained paramedics.

Four more firefighters are currently being trained as paramedics and should be certified in February, Barboa said.

"Our goal is to have a paramedic at each station 24 hours a day," he said.

Currently the department's two stations have a paramedic on staff 24 hours a day.

Another state grant, already approved, would go to purchase two more advanced defiberators for use by paramedics.

The fire department expects to buy the advanced defiberators in the spring, Barboa said.

The more advanced defiberators would allow vital information concerning a victim to be downloaded by modem directly to a hospital from the scene of the accident.

The defiberators, replacing 10-year-old models, cost $19,000 each.

The advanced defiberators, using a dozen contact leads to the victim's body, can show a more detailed picture of the victim's heart, he said.