Corona firefighters now have automated support when trying to perform CPR on patients to keep them alive.

The city recently acquired the AutoPulse mechanical CPR unit for use by Corona Fire Department paramedics.

The advanced life support technology, manufactured by Chelmsford, Massachusetts-based Zoll Medical Corp., consists of a 35-pound portable device, carried in a backpack, that can be deployed to provide continuous chest compressions for someone in cardiac arrest, according to firefighter-paramedic Steve Wells.

“The ability to use an AutoPulse unit can mean the difference between life and death,” Wells said. “There are times when manual CPR is not possible or effective, either because of stability and maneuverability challenges.

“The AutoPulse unit gives our firefighters the ability to provide consistent and uninterrupted chest compressions, within minutes of arriving on the scene. These compressions can remain uninterrupted while transporting in an ambulance, all the way to the hospital.”

The battery-operated unit comes with a “life band” that is wrapped around a victim’s chest. Once in place, a paramedic can set the AutoPulse machine to provide compressions at whatever setting is required. One battery holds a roughly 30-minute charge.

A single unit costs about $15,000.

Officials did not disclose how many AutoPulse devices will be available throughout the city. There are eight fire stations in Corona.

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