In anticipation of Pope Francis' visit to Philadelphia on Sept. 26, the Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services is providing emergency medical services equipment to assist with the expected large crowds.
At the request of Narberth Ambulance, the department is sending four cardiac monitoring devices on loan with the support of County Executive Allan Kittleman.
"Large-scale events like the Papal visit require the sharing of critical assets, extraordinary regional cooperation and mutual aid," Kittleman said in a statement. "With thousands expected to be in attendance, we wanted to support the efforts of our neighbors and do what we can to assist."
The four LIFEPAK monitors are equipped with automated and manual defibrillations along with functions to monitor vitals and other cardiac symptoms. Howard fire and rescue officials said the device is extremely beneficial when responding to cardiac arrests and enhances the level of care that emergency service technicians and paramedics can provide.
Although the ambulances that Narberth Ambulance owns are fully stocked with LIFEPAK monitors, they need loaners to provide standby coverage to the additional townships that border the pope's motorcade and parade routes. The temporary loan of this equipment will not impact operations in Howard County.
"When large crowds gather, it creates additional challenges for first responders, especially as we respond to medical incidents," Fire Chief John Butler said. "Having the right supply of equipment can literally make the difference in the chances of survival so we wanted to make sure that Narberth had everything they needed to meet the demand."
In addition to providing supplies and support during past Papal visits and presidential inaugurations, Howard fire and rescue has also provided assistance during man-made and natural disasters, including Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Isabel, Topical Storm Sandy, the La Plata tornado and the 2011 North Carolina tornado.