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East Lansing Fire Department adds new safety gear for paramedics

East Lansing Fire Department staff standing and sitting among three ambulance and emergency vehicles with new equipment set out
City of East Lansing
Some of the East Lansing Fire Department's new safety equipment

The East Lansing Fire Department has new equipment being used by its paramedics. Outdated ambulance gear has been replaced.

One important piece of new equipment added to city ambulances is a machine that will do chest compressions during CPR.

East Lansing Fire Department safety training officer Kirk Easterbrook says the machine frees up a paramedic for other tasks like putting a patient on a ventilator or starting an IV.

“It relieves one person from having to be kind of stuck in one spot, just doing compressions on the chest," he explained. "We can put this machine on and use it almost like an extra body because it does nothing but compressions for us."

East Lansing ambulances are now also equipped with auto-loaders that can lift and lower a patient into and out of the vehicle.

Easterbrook says it’s an improvement to the current process.

“We run the cot up to the back of the ambulance and a set of arms grab ahold of the cot, and it literally pulls the wheels up hydraulically. We just push it into the back of the ambulance. So, we’re no longer having to lift the full weight of the patient and the cot.”

The only lifting paramedics will need to do now is getting a patient onto a stretcher.

EMS staff also have access to new “stair chairs” designed to help them move patients up and down stairs.

Scott Pohl is a general assignment news reporter and produces news features and interviews. He is also an alternate local host on NPR's "Morning Edition."
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