Dean Darling of Sauk Prairie Ambulance demonstrates the capabilities of its new monitor/defibrillator. The ambulance service purchased three of the state-of-the-art machines, replacing 15-year-old models.

Autumn Luedke/Sauk Prairie Eagle

Sauk Prairie Ambulance has a new tool that will help improve an individual’s chance of survival.

After receiving approval from the Ambulance Commission, Sauk Prairie Ambulance purchased three new Lifepak 15 monitor/defibrillators – one for each of its fleet. The three new units replaced three, 15-year-old models, and do the work of five different machines, according to Kevin Weber, Sauk Prairie Ambulance Director.

“It’s the newest and greatest model,” Weber said. “It’s quite an upgrade from the previous Lifepak 15’s we had.”

Weber said the cost for the three machines was just over $81,000 and that was with a government discount and trade-in value for the older defibrillators.

“They are expensive but you can’t put a price on saving a life,” said Dean Darling, trainer for Sauk Prairie Ambulance.

The new machines not only offer cardiac support, but also measures how well an individual is breathing, replacing a separate blood pressure machine by monitoring a person’s oxygen saturation, auto checks a person’s carbon monoxide levels, conducts EKG monitoring, measures blood pressure and more.

Weber said because of its new and better functionality, the Lifepak 15 is a better device when fire fighters need rehabilitation while on the job.

Darling said the department will keep its older devices that check carbon monoxide levels, because often when dealing with carbon monoxide poisoning, the crew is dealing with multiple victims. This would be the case when a home’s furnace malfunctions, or for use to bring up a firefighter’s oxygen levels.

“The new ones also do EKG monitoring like the older ones, but are upgraded in its capabilities,” Weber said.

Weber said the new machines also monitor a person’s cardiac electricity every 12 seconds and looks for changes. It then automatically prints a new result if it detects enough of a change in the person’s heart rate.

“It really gives the receiving hospital more information for better continuation of care,” Weber said.

Darling said that also helps an EMT determine which hospital is the best fit for the patient based on its services and capabilities.

“Early defibrillation and CPR – that makes a difference in a life saved or a positive outcome for someone,” Darling said.

“They have a huge diagnostic advantage over the past five years in determining breath/respiratory issues that determine what avenue to go down for treatment,” Weber said.

The ambulance service has been setting money aside for a number of years in preparation for the purchase of the new defibrillators, Darling said. They also come with a warranty so if something were to malfunction; they would be replaced in under two days.

Darling said the Sauk Prairie community is set up well to handle cardiac emergencies, as many businesses, churches, organizations, individuals and the school district have automated external defibrillators and many staff has participated in a CPR training class conducted by Sauk Prairie Ambulance over the years.

Darling said the Sauk Prairie Police Department could use some help in getting funds to upgrade its seven AEDs.

As police officers serve as first responders during emergencies, it is important the department is equipped with better lifesaving devices.

“They are coming to the end of their useful life,” Weber said.

“I know they have helped save several lives over the years,” Darling added.

Follow Autumn Luedke on Twitter @Apwriter1 or contact at (608) 393-5777

Reporter, Sauk Prairie Eagle