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Former chief awarded for his research

A retired Laguna Beach fire chief has won a national award for his study on the department’s reaction time to emergency calls.

Michael Macey won a 2009 outstanding research award from the United States Fire Administration. Macey won the award for his report, “Evaluating Laguna Beach Fire Department’s Assn. between Cardiopulmonary Arrest Outcomes and Advanced Life Support Time Standards."

The research study analyzes cases of cardiopulmonary arrest. In the report, Macey researched whether the fire department’s average response time to a heart attack emergency met the National Fire Protection Assn.'s standards.

According to the NFPA document Macey used in his study, the fire department should provide advanced life support within eight minutes from the time of the emergency phone call.

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The report shows that the Fire Department meets the time standards. Firefighters reached people within eight minutes in about 89.58% of the cardiac arrest incidents from January 2006 to the fourth quarter of 2009.

“When you look at the statistics, the graph shows that in most cases we definitely arrived at the scene within eight minutes," Macey said. “This sample, though, is the very minimum number of cases by which we could calculate everything."

From 2006 to 2009 there were 44 cases of cardiopulmonary arrest out of 3,267 prehospital care reports. Macey said that a larger sample of cases of cardiac arrest would provide more accurate statistics.

He gave an example of a study in Ontario which examined more than 433,000 patients. He said he may try to use a bigger sample of cases in a later study.

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Macey also checked the percentage of incidents where patients were resuscitated from cardiac arrest. He found that about 32% of these patients survived long enough to be admitted to the hospital.

“I can’t answer why that number of people lived after cardiopulmonary resuscitation," Macey said. “There’s a myriad of reasons why some people may have died. For example, the person may have had some underlying disease or was overdosing."

Macey couldn’t find a correlation between the patient’s survival outcome and the fire department’s response time. He suggests in his report that further research is needed to examine how the response time affects the patient’s outcome.

Macey also noticed that some of the prehospital care reports lacked completeness.

“In reviewing 32, we found that in some cases, they were not complete," Macey said. “Most of these were just problems where certain information was just not furnished. However, we’re going to be moving to an electronic care report system, and that’s going to make it easier to input data."

According to Macey, the Laguna Beach Fire Department will be one of the first districts to document its care reports in an electronic system.

Macey said that he will receive his award at an Emmitsburg symposium in Maryland, where he will defend the findings of his study.

He said that the award demonstrates the solidness of the Laguna Beach Fire Department and that he was proud to represent Laguna Beach.

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