Saving Lives One Class at a Time

Lacy DeQuattro (center) poses with students from the Fairfield-Suisun Public Safety Academy during a CPR and life-skills training course in February, timed to coincide with heart health month.

Lacy DeQuattro is determined to teach Solano County life-saving skills—one class at a time. That may seem like a lofty goal until you realize she’s well on her way. She’s been teaching CPR and other life-saving techniques to students, of all ages, in colleges and elementary schools, in healthcare organizations, paramedic training programs and at health fairs for the past eight years.

Lacy, a simulation lab coordinator for NorthBay Healthcare, learned CPR at 16, so she could ride along on medical calls with her father, who served as Suisun Fire Protection District chief for 38 years.

By 19, Lacy was flying around the country as an Advanced Cardiac Life Support instructor for National Institute for Healthcare Education, one of the largest training centers in the world.

At 20, she was hired at NorthBay for an on-call position, and also worked for Medic Ambulance and American Medical Ambulance Service in Contra Costa County as a paramedic.

She soon realized local Emergency Medical Training programs were impacted, so she started her own school, Star Health Training Institute.

But in 2012, she got the perfect opportunity to put all her skills and connections together.

“I had my NorthBay world (where she was working as a cardiology tech) and my teaching world,” recalled Lacy. “When I took the job as simulation lab coordinator, I was able to bring both worlds together.”

She works with simulation mannequins in NorthBay’s high-tech simulation lab at the Green Valley Administration Center, offering training courses for nurses, medical assistants and technicians. Sometimes, she takes her “sims” lab on the road, coordinating drills at NorthBay Medical Center and NorthBay VacaValley Hospital.

She’s even programmed and delivered (pun intended)on a pregnant mannequin’s delivery of twins for Nurse Camp students every year.

In February, she and other health care providers and first-responders joined forces to offer a half-day life-saving skills course for the Fairfield-Suisun Public Safety Academy. It’s the third year NorthBay has helped coordinate a half-day presentation for students at this special charter school that specializes in preparing students for jobs in public safety.

Through NorthBay, she’s also been able to reach out to local firefighters in more ways than one. Not only has she provided EMS drills for the Suisun Fire Protection District (where she is still a volunteer), but recently did drills with the Vallejo Fire Department, bringing in some NorthBay Medical Center Emergency Department physicians to assist.

“Some of the departments we help are made up of volunteers; others may have paid staffs, but they don’t have big budgets for education,” said Lacy. “When we come in, we provide free training and use top-of-the-line simulators. They’re thrilled.”

When two major fires were burning out of control last summer, Lacy rallied her NorthBay Healthcare colleagues and collected nearly 5,000 water and sports drink bottles, which she delivered to 11 departments throughout Solano County.

“I had a silly idea and it just turned into a huge project,” she said with a smile. “That’s why I love NorthBay, it’s a family environment.” More than 100 employees stepped up to help in her mission, and even donated cash and gift cards for the firefighters.

Going the extra mile is just part of her DNA, she admits. It’s easy to work hard, when you love what you do.

“I love my job because I know I make a difference,” said Lacy. “Maybe it won’t be me, but someone I’ve taught who uses CPR to save a life. Each time I teach someone new, I think that could be my grandmother or mother they’ll save. And that makes it all worth it.”

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