Hypothermia Therapy for Cardiac Arrest Patients – It’s Not Just for Hospitals

For ten years now the American Heart Association (AHA) and International Liaison Comheartmittee on Resuscitation (ILCOR) have been advocating the use of therapeutic hypothermia for cardiac arrest patients. In recent years their guidelines have been embraced by hospitals worldwide, and since then, the numbers have continued to grow.

Yet, surprisingly, little implementation of hypothermia therapy has been seen with EMS crews in the field. I say surprisingly because not only is this life-preserving technique endorsed by AHA and ILCOR, but a number of studies have been released, proving its effectiveness in cardiac arrest patient survival rates.

But before I get into the logistics, what is hypothermia therapy (HT) exactly? As it can be executed as either an invasive or non-invasive medical treatment, therapeutic hypothermia acts to cool the body, thereby slowing a person’s cellular metabolism (by 5-7% for every degree Celsius) and, in turn, their oxygen demand to tissues as well.

(Research shows that the best results come from cooling the body to 32-34 degrees Celsius for 12-24 hours)


So, during cardiac arrest, an individual suffers from ischemic injury to the heart’s tissues. However, with immediate intervention of therapeutic hypothermia, the tissue’s demand for oxygen is decreased, therefore directly increasing their chances of survival!

One study outlined in an article featured on FoxNews.com showed that the survival rate for cardiac arrest patients at six months was 59 percent for  patients who had undergone HT compared to 45 percent among patients who had not. And HT interventions in the field could be as simple as applying water blankets, torso vests, or leg wraps.

Hopefully we will see more crews both domestically and internationally adopting hypothermia therapy in the field as it could mean the difference between life or death in the long run.

photo credit: FoxNews.com

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Joseph Juhnke’s Augmented Reality SCBA Mask – Bionic Vision for Firefighters

Tanagram Partners is (or was, I should say) a high-tech company based in Chicago, dedicated to innovating, designing, and building human computer interactions for products you use everyday. Recently the company has been forced to file for chapter 7 bankruptcy, however, in its final years Tanagram’s President and CEO, Joseph Juhnke, was on the path to developing something that would forever change the fire fighting industry.

It’s called the Augmented Reality SCBA Mask and it hasn’t gone down with its ship. In other words, this technology (although envisioned and developed with Tanagram Partners) has been carried on to NovemberKiloEcho, or NKE, Inc.

NKE, Inc. is another technology-based company founded by Joseph Juhnke (the past President and CEO of Tanagram, Inc.) who conducts their research and development of products under government grants – the company will continue to develop the Augmented Realtiy Mask.

The mask itself, originally designed and created by Joeseph Juhnke, uses augmented reality or synthetic vision to display information to firefighers through their SBCA mask. Augmented reality is the same technology used in broadcasts of NCAA college football or NFL games, for example – whenever the yellow first-down marker is displayed upon your TV screen.

HEADERThe mask shows firefighters a number of different advantageous pieces of information including oxygen levels and how much time remains based on tank pressure and respiratory rate; the temperature and trend of the surrounding environment; exit paths and nearest egress points; breadcrumb paths of what steps the firefighter has taken; the location of all other firefighters on scene; a thermal imaging overlay option triggered by a gesture interface; your personal vitals; battery life of your radio; the visuals of other team members; and virtually any other related factor imaginable!

As you can also imagine, however, this technology is not cheap and costs somewhere in the ballpark of $5,000 per mask. Yet, hopefully sometime in the near future (as depicted in the below video), this innovation will be standardized throughout departments nationwide.

For more extensive information regarding this amazing development, click here.

Photo & Video Credit: Joeseph Juhnke – Nke, Inc.

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Life-Saving Underwear for Firefighters?

Not that kind of underwear. The Tait BioLink vest is the product of a collaborative technological project aimed at increasing the safety of all emergency personnel alike. Designed and manufactured by a number of organizations including Tait Communications and Zephyr Technology, the vest effectively monitors the physiology of anyone who wears it.

This includes a person’s heart rate, breathing rate, acceleration in movement, position (in terlife saving underwearms of latitude and longitude), posture, stress levels, and more. And perhaps most importantly, the vest uses Bluetooth® technology to relay the physiological and geographical readings back to a laptop for the incident commander to see.

Any rapid changes in these readings signals an alarm to notify the IC so that he or she is able to make informed, life-saving decisions based on the individual’s health.

life saving underwear2The photo to the right gives you a visual of what a critical “man down” reading would look like. Although, perhaps even more impressive is the vest’s versatility – it’s completely machine washable!

In a video documentary of the vest, conducted by ONE News, it is stated that the vest will be tested in the U.S. sometime later this year.

The capabilities that this technological innovation offers the EMS industry are amazing and hopefully, in the near future, will be utilized in every aspect of emergency services alike. Tanmay Bhola himself (a Tait Communications Design Engineer) says that they will be testing the vest with S.W.A.T agencies soon and hopes that the vest will become mainstream (a part of standard gear) after the testing phases.

Photo & Video Credits: ONE News i Tait Communications i Zephyr Technology

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Sensor Assisted Fire Fighting – Let’s Help Firefighters Predict the Future

Developed by researchers at the University of Edinburgh, Sensor Assisted Fire Fighting records the behaviors and dynamics of structure fires while using sensors distributed throughout the layout of a building. This technological breakthrough effectively provides firefighters with more accurate knowledge on how exactly a fire could develop over time.

CaptureThe image to the left (originally illustrated in the study conducted by the researchers of the project) shows one test conducted in the Sensor Assisted Fire Fighting study. Although the study and the research itself is rather complex and highly detailed, how the technology works is somewhat simple. Using a typical building office, sensors (represented by each colored symbol on the map) are installed throughout the room and measure different aspects of the fire including heat flux, air velocity, and the horizontal and vertical spreads of the fire.

As unanticipated events unfold during the course of the fire, real-time observations provided by the sensors allow updated forecasts to be formed, thus providing more accurate predictions of how a similar fire would develop. The increased accuracy of these predictions can, in turn, better prepare firefighters to fight fires with more effectiveness and efficiency.

fire-marshall-billWith Sensor Assisted Fire Fighting, our knowledge of structure fires and how exactly they unfold is dramatically increased. And just as Fire Marshall Bill always advocated fire safety, the extra information provided by this technological development will undoubtedly increase safety for firefighters.

However, even though the study was conducted in much depth and used many tests to increase the accuracy of its findings, Dr. Guillermo Rein, who oversaw the study, reminds readers in a statement that “further research focusing on making the simulation as realistic as possible will be needed before this technology can be put into practice.”

Photo Credits: CEPRO i ScienceBlogs

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Practice Better Safety In Inclement Weather – Introducing ICEtrekker’s Personal Traction Device

Especially in rural areas and high climates, inclement weather can face your crew with many challenges. Icy roads pose a hazard while driving an ambulance, and the cold can be especially dangerous if you find yourself on a search and rescue – the last thing you would want is to accidentally slip on ice and drop the basket stretcher with your patient in it.

diamond gripHowever, thanks to ICEtrekker’s Diamond Grip Personal Traction Device, you could prevent the possibility of being sued for negligence by means of proximate causation.

The Diamond Grip attaches to the sole of your boots and essentially acts like tire chains for your feet! The makeup of the grips consist of tiny riveted beads made from hardened case alloy steel. The teethed beads are then strung on to steel aircraft cable – so you know these babies are in it for the long haul.

Not only convenient for icy conditions, the Diamond grips can also be effective while traversing uneven terrain like gravel, rocks, and muddy surfaces. Although I haven’t had the opportunity to try the Diamond Grips in the field, ICEtrekkers assures the consumer that while they are easy to put on, the straps make sure they won’t come off your boots without your permission.

With the right conditions and sufficient funds, I can’t wait to try a pair out in the field for myself!

Photo Credit: ICEtrekkers

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The Smoke Alarm That Can Save Your Children’s Lives

A new study was conducted regarding children and their response times to smoke alarms while they were in a deep sleep. And the results…were astonishing.

The study was conducted by four decorated MD’s from the Columbus Children’s Research Institute and involved 24 children subjects from the ages of 6 to 12. Traditional smoke alarms were tested against SignalONE’s customizable alarms – this is the amazing part.

signal_one_safety_vocal_smoke_alarmUsing the customizable alarms, the children’s mothers recorded their voices shouting the children’s first name twice in a row, telling them to get out of the room. To make the study completely legitimate, the testing procedure was randomized and non-blinded and both alarms were sounded at 100 decibels.

As opposed to the residential alarms which used the traditional warning tones, the customizable voice alarms proved to be much more effective. After presenting the alarms to the children in deep sleep stages, only 14 of the 24 subjects awoke to the traditional alarms. However, using SignalONE’s assisted voice alarms, 23 of the 24 children were successfully awoken.

In addition to the staggering differences in the children’s responses, not only did more children wake up to the customized alarms, but they did so much faster as compared to response times of the traditional alarms. How much faster? It took children approximately three whole minutes to wake up to the residential alarms, whereas using the customized alarms, they awoke within an average of 20 seconds!

It’s differences like these in fire safety that can save lives; the difference between waking up in the event of a fire, and not waking up; the difference between waking up in time to escape with your life, or simply not waking up in time. If you have a chance, I’d suggest taking a look into installing these in your home: who knows, you might just save your family’s lives.

Photo Credit: Home Safety, Inc.

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The Wildfire Suite From FireWhat Inc.

Over the past couple of years FireWhat Inc. has been contributing more than ever to the firefighting community. After the launch of their website FireWhat.com the emergency services technology company has been able to share their knowledge, training, classes, and innovative technologies with the rest of the fire service. However, among those technological innovations, the Wildfire Suite Apps seem to be the most impressive contributions yet.

Available in three different versions, FireWhat offers a wide range of wildland fire information now viewable in the palm of your hand – and each app’s info is more comprehensive than the next.

wfinfo2The first, or least-comprehensive of the three apps is the Wildfire Info (left). Available for free from the iTunes App Store, this version provides you with detailed fire info straight from FireWhat.com and views of active fire perimeter mapping. Some shortfalls with this version, however, is that it does contain pop-up ads, it is not available on android devices, and it features the incidents view only. But for something that comes free, Wildfire Info is nothing to sneeze at.

wfhome2The second most comprehensive version is Wildfire Home. This version of the app includes wildfire preparedness guides that offer tons of information, especially helpful for homeowners living in fire-prone areas. Along with all of the features offered in Wildfire Info and the fire preparedness guides for homeowners, Wildfire Home also provides its user with fire maps that contain custom overlays including Severe Weather and NEXRAD Radar. This app is available for just $1.99, contains no pop-up ads, but still is only available for the iPhone and iPad.

wfpro3The third, and therefore, most comprehensive of all the apps is the Wildfire Pro version. In addition to comprehensive wildland fire incident data from FireWhat.com and all other features from the previous two versions, Wildfire Pro includes professional tools like fire weather calculators (including Weather and FDFM/PIG), weather data from WeatherUnderground.com, and quick reference guides for Safety, Weather, Operations, and Size Up reports. This all-inclusive app is available for $4.99 and is compatible with all mobile platforms (Android and iOS) alike.

However, these wildland fire applications are only one aspect of all that FireWhat, Inc. has supplied the fire service with through their emergency services website. So, if you’ve never visited the site before and have a couple of minutes to spare, I suggest giving it a peek; it’ll be well worth your time!

Photo Credit: FireWhat Inc.

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