A lifesaving choice: Lawrence Fire Dept. purchases Lucas devices for CPR


The Lawrence Fire Dept. recently purchased three LUCAS chest compression systems from Stryker Corp.. The acquisitions will equip the department with the tools it needs to provide CPR in challenging situations.

Stryker Corp. is a medical technologies company based in Kalamazoo, Mich. The LUCAS device delivers hands-free CPR in situations where firefighters are at risk of disease exposure or where CPR has to be momentarily paused.

“It allows CPR to continue in tight spaces, like going down stairs or around corners,” LFD chief Dino Batalis said. “It gives us a better chance (of reviving the patient). Plus, during all this COVID-19 stuff, it’s hands-off, which could help us with patients that could be positive but we don’t know that at the time.”

LFD completed its LUCAS training several weeks ago. One device has been added to each of the department’s three ambulances at Stations 37, 38 and 40.

The department spent approximately $39,000 for the three devices.

Although few departments in the area use LUCAS devices, LFD became aware of them because Stryker also supplies the department’s cots for ambulances.

“They came out and gave us a demonstration, and we know it’s a better chance to sustain life,” Batalis said.

Stryker account manager Mandy O’Grady provided the demonstration. LFD published a video on its Facebook page following the instruction.

LUCAS devices are applied after a backboard is placed under a patient, attaching both sides of the device, pressing the plunger to the patient’s chest and then turning the machine on.

“It assesses the size of the patient and knows how much depth it needs to compress to get to (the correct) depth compression for high-quality CPR,” O’Grady said in the video.

LFD Division Chief of EMS Tony Dowd also spoke in the educational video.

“We are able to continue CPR if we have to take someone out of a confined area or maybe down a set of stairs. In the past, we would have to stop CPR, but this device allows us to continue CPR even when we are not able to be right next to the person,” Dowd said.

Prior to the purchase, Stryker loaned a LUCAS device to LFD. Crews became familiar with the loaner device and went through a three-day training period after the purchase to become comfortable with using the device.

“We are having each and every one of us get our hands on it so we are ready to use it out in the field,” Dowd said.

Batalis said the device has already helped save lives.

“We had one as a demonstrator, and I don’t know what the timeframe was, but from the time we had it, we got pulses back on three people,” Batalis said.

The devices LFD purchased are the third generation of the LUCAS product. O’Grady did not respond to a request for comment. For more, visit stryker.com.

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The Lawrence Fire Dept. recently purchased LUCAS devices for each of its three ambulances. The devices provides hands-free CPR.

Hands-free care

Despite extra personal protective equipment and taking precautions, Lawrence Fire Dept. personnel know there’s a possibility they will be exposed to COVID-19 when responding to medical emergencies. The new LUCAS CPR device helps lower that risk by performing hands-free CPR. 

“We are very thankful to have them and, especially with this COVID-19 stuff, having the hands-off. I think our crews are more relaxed once these are put on (the patient),” LFD Chief Dino Batalis said. “It’s pretty much automatic.”