New technology helps Tiverton firefighters save lives

TIVERTON, R.I. (WPRI) — Firefighers in Tiverton are the first in the state to utilize a new device that helps reduce the amount of precious time it takes to restore oxygen to someone who’s not breathing.

Every year, the Tiverton Fire Department handles dozens of emergencies involving people who aren’t breathing. Now, a device is making it easier to help those patients.

The department has a new gadget called a camera laryngoscope, which helps people get air after they’ve stopped breathing by showing paramedics where to put a breathing tube.

“Anybody that’s in a serious situation, respiratory arrest, cardiac arrest, the quicker we can get that breathing tube into them, the better chances of their survival,” said Lt. Joseph Plocica.

The device helps them do just that by taking the guesswork out of giving air. Regular laryngoscopes don’t have cameras, meaning there’s a chance paramedics might put the breathing tube down the wrong hole – the one leading to the stomach.

The devices are worth $3,000 apiece, and the department has added two of them since June. Firefighter Daniel Murphy said he and his colleagues have already used it three times in the past two or three weeks.

“Seconds count. Every time you’re not breathing after a certain amount of time, you start to lose brain cells, so it’s really important that we’re able to oxygenate the patient,” Plocica added.

The fire department said donations from people who’ve lost loved ones covered most of the cost of the new devices.

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