Get Fit RVA: Whitney tries physical challenges for EMS personnel

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — All this week, Good Morning Richmond is featuring Get Fit RVA stories, showing you “what it takes” physically for police, firefighters, and other groups.


The Richmond Ambulance Authority (RAA) put Whitney Harris to work — showing her just how hard EMS personnel work, and how certain tools make it easier for them to do their job.

“EMS as an industry can be very physically demanding,” said Jason Roach, the acting director of operations for RAA.

Jason Roach, acting director of operations for RAA
Jason Roach, acting director of operations for RAA

Technology is making it a lot easier now. EMS personnel can use a button to lift the stretchers up, and a compressed air to lift patients to their feet.

One of the hardest things they have to do is chest compressions for CPR. Whitney found out it was harder than she thought and you start to get out of breath. Even with the right form, it takes a lot to keep pushing.

Rob Lawrence, RAA chief operating officer
Rob Lawrence, RAA chief operating officer

“The key to CPR is pushing hard and fast until help arrives,” said RAA Chief Operating Officer Rob Lawrence. “In the city of Richmond, our average response time is about 5 minutes which at 100 beats a minute is about 500 compressions. To help you remember that, the tune of ‘Staying Alive,” will help you keep the beat and save the life.”

There’s now technology to help with that too. Jason Roach showed Whitney a mechanical CPR device that can take over chest compressions. “And this causes no harm to the patient. I can put my hands under here and it will not break any bones,” he said.


“Some of the older technologies required a lot of very strong grip strength, upper body strength, balance, and stamina if you have to carry an individual for a long distance,” Roach said. “A lot of these newer technologies that we’ve put in place remove some of those aspects and require a lot more hands-on versus muscles on.”

It’s so important for people to learn CPR so if you are in an emergency situation more than one person can help out with chest compressions if someone gets tired. It could save a life.

RAA will provide CPR classes for free and they’ll even come to you if you have a group or event.

For more information click here. 

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