Spokane Valley firefighters save lives with pit crew CPR - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Spokane Valley firefighters save lives with pit crew CPR

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SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. -

Every second counts when it comes to a cardiac arrest emergency. Spokane Valley Firefighters are taking advantage of every second with a different approach to CPR.

It’s called Pit Crew CPR and requires all hands on deck. Each team member has a roll; one to do compressions, another to ventilate, another to medicate and others to help assist. The person doing the physically demanding work of compressions rotates out every two minutes.

The pit crew approach allows for steadier, consistent compressions – ideally about 100 a minute. Because of this, Spokane Valley crews say more people are surviving. In 2013 and 2014, they say their CPR save rate was at 25%. After it implemented Pit Crew CPR, in 2015 and 2016, the survival rate doubled to 54%. Chief Rich Llewellyn says Pit Crew CPR is much more efficient because it allows a patient to receive chest compression much more consistently.

Captain Dan Ward says during the days of traditional CPR - when one person did it all - cardiac arrest calls were the most stressful and intense. Now, he says the calls are far less stressful because everyone has a job and knows what to do. He says it’s also helping knowing the survival rate is much greater.

A Spokane Valley firefighter learned about the approach and brought it back to the eastside of the state from the Redmond Fire Department. The first clinical trial was just a few years ago and showed a 60% improvement in patient survival. Since then, it’s spread like wildfire from department to department around the country. Now, the Spokane Valley Fire Department is teaching the approach to other departments in the Inland Northwest.

Firefighters add that bystander CPR is essential in helping their success. They encourage people to learn how to do CPR compressions at their free classes in Spokane Valley. To sign up go to http://www.spokanevalleyfire.com/services/programs/cpr-fire-safety-classes/

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