LCRA gives $25K to Matagorda VFD

Contributed photo
An LCRA representative presents a $25,000 grant to the Matagorda Volunteer Fire Department for a new heart monitor and automated external defibrillator. Pictured, from left, are: Lori A. Berger, LCRA board member; Clayton Cook, Matagorda VFD president and paramedic; and Gail Cook, Matagorda VFD treasurer and paramedic.

   MATAGORDA – A $25,000 grant from the Lower Colorado River Authority will help the Matagorda Volunteer Fire Department purchase a state-of-the art cardiac monitor and automated external defibrillator.
   The Community Development Partnership Program grant, paired with about $8,000 in matching funds, will allow the department to replace its aging cardiac monitor/defibrillator unit at a critical time, said Clayton Cook, the department’s president. 
   Recently, the department learned the manufacturer of the AED/cardiac monitor used by the Matagorda VFD will halt service of the device in February. 
   Without the CDPP grant, the department “would have been keeping that old unit in place until it breaks,” Cook said. 
   “We just did not have the funds to purchase a new one. I expected to have the old unit for another four or five years. 
   “This grant means we don’t have to worry about when that unit stops working and whether we have a replacement for it yet,” he said. 
   “This is a godsend.” 
   With stations in Matagorda and Selkirk, the Matagorda VFD responds to emergencies across Matagorda County, including to popular beaches and parks that can draw thousands of visitors on busy weekends. 
   “We’re typically on the scene within five minutes,” said Cook, adding that the nearest ambulance is stationed in Bay City, about 20 miles from Matagorda. 
   The new AED/cardiac monitor, a replacement for a model that dates back to the mid-1990s, will enhance the department’s advanced life-support efforts, Cook said. 
   Along with being able to restore a normal heartbeat by sending an electric pulse or shock to the heart, the upgraded monitor will provide additional vital information about a patient’s condition. 
   “It will not only be something that helps us out as paramedics, but it will help our first responders who are giving care and also provide better information to the additional paramedics who are arriving on scene,” said Cook, one of two paramedics in the department, along with his wife, Gail. 
   “We’ll even be able to send information directly to the hospital so the doctors have access to it as the patient is coming in.” 

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