The Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office is deploying 60 automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in all its marked and first responder vehicles. On Tuesday, department supervisors and group directors met at the BCSO Law Enforcement Training Facility in Stockton to watch a video and a live demonstration of the devices.
“We have had AEDs in our department offices and courthouses,” Sheriff Huey “Hoss” Mack explained. “But we thought it would be a great tool to have in all our marked and first responder vehicles, so we started rolling them out about three weeks ago.”
The Cardiac Science Powerheart G5 model units were purchased using about $70,000 from department discretionary funds, Mack said.
The sheriff said a court security officer has used one of the devices to successfully resuscitate a juror who had cardiac arrest, and there is a need for a similar response capability on the road.
“I think we’ll see a use mostly in our patrol function, because a lot of the calls we get, we’re usually the first people there — before the fire department, before medical,” he said. “And especially in our rural areas, where it can be some time to get medical on scene.”
Rob Williams, a Cardiac Science market specialist who demonstrated one of the devices Tuesday, said it was a “brand new technology designed for everyone, whether a trained medical professional, a lady at a church, a school teacher, a deputy, a police officer or anyone in between.”
“All you have to do is open the lid and it begins to give voice and text prompts,” Williams explained.
The devices are bilingual with a Spanish option, and they will not proceed to the next step until the present step is completed. Essentially, users have to open the devices, remove the victim’s shirt and place two adhesive defibrillation pads on the victim’s chest and side. Then, the user can step back and let the device commence shocking the heart.
Its lithium battery can last four years unused or provide about 450 shocks. Williams said the lifespan of a unit is about 10 years and in the 12 years he has been selling AEDs nationwide, he has heard more than 200 stories of their use from customers.
“Cardiac arrest kills approximately 365,000 Americans every year and the national average is you only have a 5-7 percent survival rate … and that’s because of time,” Williams said. “For every minute that goes by, that chance of survival declines by 10 percent. So if you have 60 of these things driving around Baldwin County at any point, they may be in my neighborhood, they may be on my street. And that time will make all the difference.”
Citing a 2011 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the American Heart Association claims communities with comprehensive AED programs that include cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and AED training for rescuers have achieved survival rates of nearly 40 percent for cardiac arrest victims.
“Immediate CPR and early defibrillation with an AED can more than double a victim’s chance of survival. In fact, early defibrillation, along with CPR, is the only way to restore the victim’s heart rhythm to normal in a lot of cases of cardiac arrest,” the association reported. “The 2013 Update of AHA’s Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics shows that 23 percent of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests are ‘shockable’ arrhythmias, or those that respond to a shock from an AED, making AEDs in public places highly valuable.”
This page is available to subscribers. Click here to sign in or get access.
It looks like you are opening this page from the Facebook App. This article needs to be opened in the browser.
iOS: Tap the three dots in the top right, then tap on "Open in Safari".
Android: Tap the Settings icon (it looks like three horizontal lines), then tap App Settings, then toggle the "Open links externally" setting to On (it should turn from gray to blue).