Every year, up to 450,000 Americans suffer from sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). Approximately one person dies every two minutes from SCA. The sad thing about this is that while sudden cardiac arrest cannot be prevented, with early treatment sudden cardiac death can be! The treatment can be as easy as using an automated external defibrillator (AED) to deliver electric shocks to the heart to stop ventricular fibrillation (when the heart begins beating erratically).
Police and law enforcement officials are often the first to arrive on the scene of a sudden cardiac arrest. By carrying automated external defibrillators in their vehicles, police officers can increase the survival rate of SCA victims and save more lives each year.
Automated external defibrillation must be started within minutes of the onset of the SCA because every minute that passes increases the likelihood of brain damage or death. If the first emergency personnel on scene are equipped with an AED, precious time is saved and the chances of survival are increased.
Many towns and cities across the country have started equipping their police cars with AED units and training their police officers on their use.
In study after study, it has been shown that the sooner an SCA is treated with an AED, the better. Every minute that passes, the chances of survival lessen by ten percent.
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) alone cannot save a victim who is suffering sudden cardiac arrest or ventricular fibrillation (when the heart begins to quiver and stops pumping blood). CPR helps circulate a small amount of blood to the heart and brain while an SCA is occurring but defibrillation is necessary to restore a normal heart rhythm. Outside of a hospital, an AED is the only type of equipment that can deliver the necessary electric shock needed to restart the victim’s heart.
There are many more stories from police departments across the nation detailing how automated external defibrillators have saved lives. Equipping the men and women who are most often the first responders to sudden cardiac arrest emergencies are an important first step in saving lives. Making AEDs part of the standard equipment that police cruisers carry and making AED training mandatory for police officers who are most often the first responders to an emergency ensures that the public can rest assured that when and if someone suffers from sudden cardiac arrest, the necessary lifesaving treatment will be available.