WFPS gets funding to test automatic CPR machines

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WINNIPEG — The Winnipeg Fire and Paramedic Service will continue to use automatic CPR machines after receiving $70,000 from the city.

The Autopulse resuscitation system was installed in four Winnipeg Fire and Paramedic Service medical supervisor units in August.

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Since then the automatic CPR machines have been used on 46 patients.

“What we like to say is it’s an equivalent to rock star CPR so if you’re the best CPR provider out there, providing excellent CPR, this machine can do that and maintain it as long as there’s battery power,” said Chris Cauthers with the WFPS.

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The Autopulse units deliver 80 uniform chest compressions per minute at the optimal rate and depth.

Besides improving patient care, Cauthers said the units will improve safety for paramedics who often have to stand in the back of ambulances while performing CPR on patients.

“Think about standing up in the back of a pickup truck going 60 kilometers per hour, how safe is that? Now enclose yourself in a box, a metal box,” he said.

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Cauthers provided a demonstration to city councillors on Tuesday at a committee meeting before they voted to partially fund the trial program.

“I think we do want to see this project available to the citizens of Winnipeg because it literally does save lives,” said city councillor and Innovation Committee chair Jeff Browaty.

The WFPS was looking for around $430,000 to put Autopulse units in 24 ambulances.

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However, the committee said the $70,000 will allow the project to continue with the four units while the WFPS looks for additional funding partners to foot some of the bill.