CRANBERRY ISLES — The Northeast Harbor Ambulance Service recently bought two automatic chest compression devices, which can take the place of a person doing CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation), and has donated one of them to the Cranberry Isles Rescue Service.
The other device will be given to the Mount Desert Fire Department when it takes over EMS responsibilities for the town later this year.
Each device cost about $17,000.
“It will hopefully help result in better outcomes in situations where somebody might be in cardiac arrest and there are only one or two people available to do CPR and other lifesaving measures,” said Basil Mahaney, service chief for the Northeast Harbor Ambulance Service.
“We have always worked with the Cranberry Isles to transport patients to the hospital [from Northeast Harbor],” Mahaney said. “We’ve had a lot of support, a lot of donations from the islands over the years, and we thought it would be a good opportunity as we are winding down to give back to the community.”
Katelyn Damon, public safety coordinator for the town of Cranberry Isles and service chief for the islands’ rescue service, said the chest compression device was a very welcome gift.
“It’s an expensive machine, a really advanced piece of equipment, and they donated it to us without any conditions, which was a pretty nice thing for them to do,” she said.
“Being on the islands and having a small, all-volunteer rescue service, it takes a little of the manual labor out of a cardiac event. It allows responders to do other important things like defibrillate and manage airways.”
The Cranberry Isles Rescue Service has a station and an ambulance on both Islesford and Great Cranberry Island. For now, the automatic CPR device will be kept on the Islesford ambulance, Damon said, “because the majority of our responders are on Islesford.”
But she said the ambulance service is planning a fundraising campaign for this spring and summer to purchase the same type of CPR device for Great Cranberry.
“We are one town, and our responders respond throughout the town.”
The rescue service recently held a training session to refresh responders on CPR techniques and to show them how to use the automatic CPR device. That portion of the training was led by Margaret Houghton, a Northeast Harbor Ambulance Service paramedic.
The Bar Harbor Fire Department has had an automatic CPR device for several years.