Salt Lake City firefighters work as a pit crew to save more heart attack victims

From the Salt Lake Tribune:

Salt Lake City firefighters credit a new strategy for saving more people from heart attacks.

According to the fire department, firefighters helped patients regain a pulse on 41 percent of their calls in 2013, up from 29 percent in 2011.

That’s thanks to a strategy called a “pit crew” response. Each of the four firefighters responding to a call of a heart attack has a specific job to do right away, much like a pit crew gets right to work on a race car, according to a fire department news release. Before, the team called out tasks for each firefighter to perform.

“Another major change for all cardiac arrest responses is to work on the patient where we find them instead of immediately loading the patient into an ambulance and taking them to a hospital while attempting to give them medical attention during transport,” said Scott Youngquist, the fire department medical director, in a statement. “It is difficult to perform good CPR on the patient in the back of a speeding ambulance and it puts the first responders and the driving public at risk of accident or injury.”

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