This year, Alabama updated its EMT protocols and provided new blind insertion airway devices to departments across the state.
The devices, also called I-gels, are geared specifically for cardiac arrest patients. The ultimate goal is to quickly secure a person’s airway with no interruptions to CPR compressions.
Harvest Volunteer Fire-Rescue is the first fire department in Madison County to use the device.
“We have successfully used four of them on cardiac arrest patients,” said EMS Captain Martha Mathis.
Traditionally, EMS responders use an oral airway device, which is a plastic tool that slides into a person’s mouth and keeps the base of the tongue back.
Now, first responders can secure the airway much faster. “The I-gel is a supraglottic airway device,” Mathis said. “So what that means is you can just slide the device in… it’s going to keep any secretions from the stomach from coming up and it allows us to better ventilate the patients.”