Only 30 percent the nation's state police agencies equip their vehicles with automated external defibrillators, according to research announced from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.
Of those agencies that do have AEDs in vehicles, most (nearly 60 percent) have the devices in only a minority of their fleet.
"Putting AEDs into more state police cruisers could provide a significant safety net for people who suffer cardiac arrest on our nation's highways, where state police officers often serve as first responders," said senior author Benjamin Abella, MD, MPhil, an assistant professor of Emergency Medicine and director of clinical research in the Center for Resuscitation Science.
"A number of municipal police agencies around the nation have started AED programs and been able to save lives from cardiac arrest, so there is a model and precedent on which to build."
For the study, police agencies in all 50 states were asked to complete an online survey. Seventy-eight percent of responding agencies said they train their officers in AED use, and 98 percent said they provide CPR training. Forty six of the nation's 50 state police agencies completed the survey.