Lifesaving lesson

Firefighters and paramedics watch as Ontario Fire and Rescue Chief Terry Leighton, left, and Treasure Valley Paramedic Michelle Rico adjust the LUCAS device on a mannequin. The machine can administer chest compressions for up to one hour. A training was hosted on Wednesday to learn more about the device which was donated to Ontario Fire and Rescue about a month ago.

ONTARIO — Nearly a month ago, a local fire department received a new state-of-the-art device, and on Wednesday, firefighters and paramedics gathered to attend a training session to learn more about the lifesaving machine.

Acquired with funds from the Treasure Valley Paramedic Charitable Foundation, Ontario Fire and Rescue as well Vale Ambulance Service each received a LUCAS device. This mechanical device can administer chest compressions for up to an hour.

The foundation, which came into existence last year, seeks to provide financial opportunities to purchase emergency medical equipment or training for agencies outside of Treasure Valley Paramedics, said Steve Patterson, owner of the ambulance service. The money from the foundation is available to those agencies registered with the Malheur County Ambulance District through a grant-like process, which is how the devices were donated.

After much consideration, the two devices were donated to Vale and Ontario responders to benefit areas with the most populous, Bob Dickinson, director of the ambulance service district in the county, said.

“We are trying to do the best for the most,” Dickinson said. “If you compare the main populated areas to outlying areas without a high-call volume, then the usage of the LUCAS device may be limited, so there is a greater need for it in the area with the most populous.”

The machines purchased are valued at $17,000 each, and are state-of-the-art devices that enhance the survivability of patients, Dickinson added.

“It does perfect CPR — better than a technician could,” Patterson said.

That’s because the machine is able to apply constant pressure during CPR — a fundamental requirement for good circulation.

“As human beings, we can’t supply the kind of constant pressure like this device can,” Dickinson said.

During the training on Wednesday, Ontario Fire and Rescue firefighters learned how to place the device on a mannequin and watched the machine in action as it performed CPR.

Firefighters were also joined by paramedics during the session, all of whom were able to ask questions about the device.

Of receiving the funds to purchase the devices, Dickinson said he is thankful for the foundation.

“It certainly takes the pressure off of us financially for some of the equipment and it’s certainly a great help to us,” he said.

Ontario Fire and Rescue Chief Terry Leighton said he, too, was appreciative for the device which will be kept inside the Ontario Fire and Rescue truck.

Tanya Bañuelos is a news reporter at The Argus Observer. She can be reached at (541) 823-4811 or by emailing To comment on this story, go to

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