PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A relatively new device is being used by several local fire departments and ambulance companies to mechanically provide CPR to those in need.

Once your heart stops working, chest compressions are what can help save your life to get oxygen to your brain. Survival beyond a few minutes without it means brain damage and death. It’s tough for even the strongest firefighters to perform for a long period of time even while rotating between responders.

It’s why fire departments like Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue have purchased several Lucas Devices, a mechanical chest compression machine that helps perform CPR. Trained firefighters will start manual CPR while the device is set up. It slides around the chest of someone in cardiac arrest and it’s turned on and automatically performs precise compressions 110 per minute. This also allows paramedics to use an AED machine to try and restart the heart and work on giving medication.

“(When) doing CPR with four people on (an) apparatus, exhaustion starts to set in. It’s like doing push-ups. The first couple aren’t so bad, but once you get to 50, you get to 60, you get to 100 — no matter how good of shape you are in, your endurance starts to drop,” said Andrew Witkowski with TVF&R.

Paramedics will at times do CPR for up to an hour while waiting for an ambulance to arrive, then continue CPR in the ambulance to the hospital, which can be a long way away. Lucas Devices becoming more common in local ambulances, and on some fire engines.

Due to the cost, which is between $20,000-$30,000 thousand each, local fire departments don’t yet have them on every rig. But federal grant money is helping buy them.