Federal grant helps San Marcos Fire Department do more than fight fires

San Marcos Fire Department fire truck (KXAN Photo/Lauren Lanmon)
San Marcos Fire Department fire truck (KXAN Photo/Lauren Lanmon)

SAN MARCOS, Texas (KXAN) – The San Marcos Fire Department is receiving a federal grant to help purchase cardiac treatment devices for its fire trucks.

The Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program awarded the department $332,182 with a match from the city of $33,218 for six LifePak 15 monitors and six Lucas mechanical chest compression systems. The department has plans to equip each fire station’s main fire truck and the battalion chief’s vehicle with one of the devices.

“Most of the time we respond with an ambulance. If we arrive there at the same time, we’ll probably use the equipment from the ambulance. But, there are times when the ambulance is coming back from the hospital or maybe there are more calls pending for them than there is for us so we get on scene a few minutes earlier, this will give us the ability to start advanced life support treatment right away,” said San Marcos Fire Chief Les Stephens

To date, 24 of the San Marcos Fire Department’s 74 firefighters are certified paramedics. Stephens hopes to have a total of 30 certified by May of 2019. He says as more of his firefighters become certified, it just makes sense for his department to have the equipment.

“Whether it’s a motor vehicle accident, a car wreck, a gunshot wound or a CPR situation, they’ll be receiving advanced life support from the first arriving apparatus whether that’s an engine or an ambulance,” said Stephens.

LifePak 15 monitors help first responders identify and treat life-threatening cardiac conditions as well as respiratory problems by monitoring oxygen and carbon dioxide in the patient’s body. The Lucas devices enable automated and continuous closed chest compression for cardiac patients.

The equipment will go to council for final approval on November 7. The department then plans to install the devices in 2018.

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