Fast response, new device help save a life

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BEACON FALLS — Quick actions from a neighbor, a fast response from Beacon Hose Company No. 1, and a new piece of equipment all played a part in saving a local man’s life.

Beacon Hose received a call for an unresponsive man who had suffered a heart attack on Morning Wood Drive at approximately 3 p.m. on Sept. 23, according to Beacon Hose EMS Director Peter Monti.

The man’s family members ran to the home of their neighbor Kevin O’Connell, a firefighter in Stratford and volunteer with Beacon Hose, who began performing CPR, Monti said.

First responders from Beacon Hose arrived shortly after and took over manual CPR before using the LUCAS Chest Compression System, Monti said.

The LUCAS system is a device that provides steady, rhythmic compressions to a person in need of CPR, Monti said. The use of the system allowed emergency medical technicians to use the automated external defibrillator to help restart the victim’s heart, he said.

The LUCAS system is a new tool in Beacon Hose’s arsenal.


(This video is from a training session with Beacon Hose Company No. 1’s new LUCAS Chest Compression System. -CONTRIBUTED BY BEACON HOSE)

Town officials approved the $15,000 piece of equipment in this fiscal year’s budget after the company had requested it the past few years. The system arrived at the end of August.

Monti said the LUCAS system helps a patient by performing regular and continuous chest compressions and helps keep blood flowing.

“Anybody who has done CPR knows that it is physically intensive. After a few minutes you begin to get tired,” Monti said. “When you switch people out it is not continuous compressions. It is like you have to re-prime the pump again.”

Monti said the Sept. 23 call was the second time Beacon Hose used the system. Beacon Hose is working with the town to see if there are any grants available to buy a second one to have one in both of the company’s ambulances, he said.

Monti said the combination of the initial response by O’Connell, the work from the EMTs, and the LUCAS system all played a part in ensuring the man lived.

“Everybody in Beacon Hose is a volunteer and they dedicate their time to training for these types of emergencies. When they see the payoff and know they are part of team that helped save a life and can see the impact not only on the individual, but on his family and friends, they are rightfully proud,” Monti said. “We are all incredibly proud of them.”