SEASIDE - The Seaside Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association has new equipment to help save lives.

The Assocation received a $5,700 grant from the 2003 Oregon Rural Access to Emergency Devices grant program. The money purchased three automatic external defibrillators, used to help resuscitate patients during cardiac arrest, Fire Chief Joe Dotson said.

The three new machines will join two machines the association already had and will be placed in various emergency vehicles. One will also be located in the middle of the fire district with Capt. Bill Dotson, who lives on U.S. Highway 26. Each machine cost $1,900.

The defibrillator increases a person's chance of surviving by up to 70 percent in the event of a cardiac arrest. It is usually used after cardiopulmonary resuscitation first increases the flow of oxygenated blood to the heart and brain. Permanent and irreversible brain death begins after four to six minutes without oxygen.

Also, the Association used funds raised locally to purchase a set of large cutters that compliment the jaws of life extrication equipment. The cutters are used to remove the top of vehicles involved in an accident. This allows emergency officers quick access to patients from the top of the vehicle.

A set of miniature cutters was purchased to cut clutches and brakes away from patients' feet after an accident. The minicutters are much safer to use, and are manually operated instead of powered by a hydraulic pump, Dotson said.

"Occasionally, we are the first on the scene," he said. "This equipment will help us do our job safer and more quickly."

Seaside Fire and Rescue received 623 emergency medical calls during 2003. That is about 100 more calls than in 2002 and 400 more calls than in 1993.

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