N.M. county VFDs to receive $1M in new medical equipment

The approval for new AEDs, cardiac monitors and CPR devices follows an inspection showing that most Eddy County fire vehicles lacked working AEDs


Mike Smith
Carlsbad Current-Argus

CARLSBAD, N.M. — New medical equipment valued at nearly $1 million was provided to Eddy County volunteer departments after a vote of approval from the Eddy County Board of County Commissioners.

On Jan. 18, commissioners approved a request from Eddy County Fire and Rescue to purchase 120 automated external defibrillators, 12 cardiac monitors and 12 mechanical CPR devices using funds from the Eddy County Fire Excise Tax Fund.

"ECFR staff are arriving well ahead of the ambulance and can begin diagnosis of patients prior to ambulance arrival," said Eddy County Fire and Rescue Chief Joshua Mack. (Image/Tribune News Service)

In a memo to commissioners, ECFR Chief Joshua Mack said the new equipment was needed for every volunteer fire department in the county.

An inspection conducted by the State Fire Marshal's office found more than 80 percent of Eddy County fire vehicles did not have operational AEDs, he wrote in the memo.

The National Fire Protection Association required AEDs in any type of fire vehicle, per Mack's memo.

ECFR Deputy Chief of Administration Jarod Zuniga said every fire truck in Eddy County would have a new AED.

"We're looking for enough new ones to replace the entire fleet," he said.

AEDs are not the only medical equipment lacking in Eddy County, according to Mack's memo.

He said Eddy County had four aging cardiac monitors, which are further advanced than AEDs and allow for advanced diagnosis.

"ECFR response has increased to EMS calls for service," read Mack's memo. "ECFR staff are arriving well ahead of the ambulance and can begin diagnosis of patients prior to ambulance arrival in this equipment was available in their units."

Zuniga said the cardiac monitors and CPR devices would be placed in ECFR staff vehicles and four ECFR ambulances.

"They're expected to have a 10-year life span so (we) want them to last. Our goal is to up our medical care across the county with equipment that will grow as we grow," he said.

"Stats show our staff trucks get there quickly. We can get there and meet volunteers there and we're going to arrive with a CPR machine and a cardiac monitor," Zuniga said.

District 2 County Commissioner Jon Henry said Eddy County residents should feel comfortable with the purchase of the new medical devices.

"We should be proud of what you all are getting accomplished. This is a really cool thing," said Henry.

District 1 Commissioner Ernie Carlson said better equipped Eddy County volunteer fire departments meant stronger survival chances for rural residents during emergency medical situations.

"Anything we can do that even saves one life, count me in," he said. "We want all of our citizens to have the best chance of survival that we can provide."

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