WEBSTER, Mass. — A $174,000 investment in what Webster EMS Chief Gary J. Milliard Jr. calls the "most advanced technologies in EMS today" recently equipped all department vehicles with the Lifepak 15 cardiac monitor/defibrillator.
"They are the latest and greatest, and they certainly help us provide the best service we can to the community," said Lt. Jon Belanger during a recent interview at the EMS station on Thompson Road.
The Lifepak 15 performs a broad range of essential functions, fromfundamental diagnostics, such as checking blood pressure, to delivering an electrical shock to the heart of victims stricken with sudden cardiac arrest.
According to the American Red Cross, more than 300,000 Americans are victims of sudden cardiac arrest every year. About 5 percent survive, yet many deaths could be prevented with CPR and defibrillation.
Among a litany of functions, the Lifepak 15 also administers and transmits an EKG of the heart to the receiving emergency room, determines oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in the lungs, and monitors carbon monoxide in the blood of patients and firefighters in the field working a fire.
"We are very fortunate to have one on every truck and the responsevehicle," Chief Milliard said of the five machines purchased.
Webster's round-the-clock emergency medical service has 43 on staff, four ambulances, a response truck and a welcoming mixed-breed station dog called Sgt. Pepper.
The key to the department's success, Chief Milliard said, is a focus on medicine and customer service.
"Our mission statement is really simple: Serve others, be better tomorrow than we are today and to be nice. I have the best staff. We hire kind and competent people," he said.
The not-for-profit emergency service is self-funded and governed by a board of directors. A portion of the department's income is set aside for capital purchases.
"Every penny we make goes back into the business. It goes back into Webster EMS, and that's what gives us the ability to buy this kind of equipment," the chief said.
Chief Milliard's charge to provide the best care with the most advanced equipment doesn't end at the Webster town line.
Webster EMS recently donated $9,000 to its mutual aid partner, Dudley EMS, toward the about $14,000 cost to purchase a Lucas 2 Chest Compression System for victims of cardiac arrest.
"My goal over the next year or so is to make sure Oxford gets one and Douglas gets one. I'd like to see all of our bordering communities receive a Lucas," the chief said.