Helicon Volunteer Fire Department holds Ribbon Cutting for new ALS equipment

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Left to right: Justin Patton RPS, Katrina Key RAMS, Corey Noe HVFD, Lee Wills RAMS, Tim Brown RPS, Neil Feist HVFD, Greg Ackley HVFD, Susan Tyree HVFD Kate Denotter HVFD, Tim Wadsworth Alabama House of Representatives, Lael Feist HVFD, Nicole Jones and Michal Minor BREMSS. (Photos contributed)

ARLEY, Ala. – The Helicon Volunteer Fire Department recently received grant funding for new Advanced Life Saving (ALS) equipment. Chief Neil Feist and Assistant Chief Greg Ackley applied for grants with the help of State Representative Tim Wadsworth and economic developer Dr. Nicole Jones. The Department received $13,000 from the Alabama Association of Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D), and $30,000 from a state grant.

The Helicon Fire Department held a ribbon cutting for their new equipment on Monday. Tim Wadsworth, Dr. Nicole Jones and members of RPS (Regional Paramedical Services) and RAMS (Regional Air-Medical Services) attended the event.

The grants allowed for the purchase of a cardiac monitor which acts as a defibrillator and records electrocardiograms, and a LUCAS device which is a battery-operated device that does consistent CPR compressions. The department also received cardiac drugs and pain medication.

There are three paramedics in the Fire Department–Greg Ackley, Kate Denotter and Corey Noe–who can deliver the medications to patients. A paramedic will also be required to interpret the EKG readings of the cardiac monitor, but any of the regular fire fighters can be trained to use the LUCAS device. The average ambulance response time for the department is 40 minutes, but Feist said he has had to wait over an hour for an ambulance, “If the ambulance is coming from Haleyville and we’re down in the Crane Hill area, it’s over an hour. But typically, it’s in the 40-minute range.”

This new equipment can be used by the first responders to assist patients in critical condition while they wait for an ambulance to arrive.

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