Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

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February 4, 2013

BFT introduces life-saving protocol

BROWNSBURG — A potentially major life-saving protocol was added to Hendricks County recently that will essentially allow the operating room to come to an emergency scene.

The Brownsburg Fire Territory is the first department in the county to acquire what is called Rapid Sequence Airway protocol, which will allow emergency personnel to use a neuromuscular blocking agent to help facilitate breathing in people with serious head trauma or other maladies that make securing an airway difficult.

"The best way to explain it is that we're moving the operating room method of securing an airway out to the field,"  said Todd Schindler, a paramedic with the department. "When we have somebody who's in dire need of airway management and they're not able to be secured because of a medical problem or injury, we'll be allowed to use medication to paralyze and sedate them and ventilate as we care for them in the field."

Initially, he said, the equipment will only be on the BFT's safety cars.

Schindler said that RSA usage is prominent in northeastern Indiana, where he is from and he's seen it save countless lives.

"For a head injury patient, there are two things you have to ensure to give them the best chance of a good outcome: good oxygenation and managing their blood pressure," he said. "By utilizing this to manage their airway, it allows us to focus on their blood pressure level."

BFT Fire Chief William Brown said it's a pilot program in Brownsburg, but he hopes it can prove useful and expand to other areas within the year.

"Our travel distance from Hendricks County to Methodist or Wishard, which are the level-one trauma centers, is a much greater distance," Brown said. "We'd have to wait until those medics flew in to start the scene. Now we can start while we're waiting for them. If we had a major traffic accident on say, I-74, right now, our guys now have the skills to save lives on the scene."

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