VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI)- In Indiana, EMT's are learning new skills with the hopes of saving more lives.
As of March 1st, EMT's are now allowed to train and operate a C-PAP in emergencies, something only paramedics could use before.
News 10 spoke with Lieutenant Kevin Murphy at the Riley Fire Department about the new resource.
Murphy says it's a tool they're looking forward to learning more about and providing more help with.
"No one's gonna turn away that free education and ability to help the citizens that we protect. We're all in this business to help people and when you add more skills to that toolbox to help people we're gonna really benefit not only for ourselves but for the community as a whole," Murphy explained.
C-PAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure. The device forces a small amount of air pressure through the pulmonary tree causing them to reopen.
In rural areas like Indiana, the use of a C-PAP could prevent a patient from using a ventilator or at least buy more time before arriving at the hospital.
It also helps with the issue of declining paramedics throughout the state.
"Paramedic ambulances still aren't available in some parts of Indiana so for those rural communities this access to the C-PAP could mean the difference between life and death while they get to that definitive care of a hospital," said Murphy.
Riley and Honey Creek Fire Department have not trained with the C-PAPS just yet, but they say training will start sooner rather than later.
Murphy encourages you to reach out to your local fire department to see if they are using the new resource.