Do You Carry An AED In Your Patrol Car?

June 1, 2018
While waiting for 911 help, every minute counts.

In the last few years, many local and state governments have signed into law bills that require all Police and Law Enforcement Personnel to carry an AED when responding to an emergency. Such public health legislations, supported by the lawmakers, individuals and organizations, ensure that the community is being protected against the scourge of Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA), and in case of an emergency a victim can be treated promptly till additional medical help arrives. Sudden Cardiac Arrest is a leading cause of death in the United States and many other countries in the world. According to the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation, over 350,000 people in the U.S. alone experience sudden cardiac arrest every year and nine out of 10 victims die. American Heart Association estimates, up to 50,000 of these deaths could have been prevented if someone had initiated the Cardiac Chain of Survival, immediately at the time of the emergency and if an automated external defibrillator had been available.

An automated external defibrillator is a  portable medical device designed to treat Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA). This electronic marvel is smaller than a laptop and consists of a microprocessor that is capable of analyzing heart’s rhythm through a pair of electrodes. When these electrodes are attached to the body, AED can diagnose the cardiac arrhythmia of ventricular fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia and can deliver an electrical shock automatically to the heart to restore the heart's normal rhythm. ZOLL AEDs provide auditory and visual prompts to assist lay / EMS personnel in treating a victim of SCA.

Statistics show SCA can happen to anyone, anywhere, anytime. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, men at age 40 in the U.S. have a one-in-eight chance of suffering SCA over the rest of their lives, a stark indication of the toll cardiovascular disease exacts on society. Although the risk of SCA increases with age and in people with heart problems, a large percentage of the victims are people with no known risk factors. SCA strikes people of all ages and fitness levels, including children, usually without warning.

In most cases, Police Officers are the First Responders. As they are seeing an increasing number of SCA victims, young and old, the availability of an AED can make the difference between life and death.

Therefore, it’s vital that every Police Cruiser responding to an emergency must have an AED on board and know the symptoms of a sudden cardiac arrest and have training in basic life support. The 2015 American Heart Association Guidelines stress the importance of high-quality CPR and the availability of an AED to help improve outcomes in a cardiac arrest.

While waiting for 911 help, every minute counts. AHA states, “Brain death and permanent death start to occur in just 4 to 6 minutes after someone experiences cardiac arrest.” Properly performed CPR can maintain the needed blood flow to the brain for some time. But the fact is: to eliminate heart’s chaotic rhythm that caused the SCA, you need an AED on hand. Period. AED is a lifesaving device and very easy to use. The defibrillators have become so sophisticated that they can be used by practically anyone who has been shown what to do. An AED is the only device that is always ready. Always there–when it is needed in an SCA emergency.

I, as a spokesperson for the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Initiative, believe that this fact makes it imperative that besides the Police cruisers, every house and every place people live and work should have an AED. I can say with confidence that every one of our proud Police officers would agree with me.

About the Author:

Kay Lall has been at the helm of AED Professionals /General Medical Devices Company for the last 15 years. Under her leadership, GMD, Inc. has become a leading provider of Zoll, Physio Control, Defibtech, HeartSine and other name-brand Automated External Defibrillators for home, public and professional use. 

Lall holds a M.B.A. in marketing and finance from Philadelphia Temple University's Fox School of Business Administration. Before founding General Medical Devices, Inc. Company, she held key executive positions with Fortune 500 companies and did consulting for U.S. DOE in High Level Radioactive Waste Disposal with Westinghouse Electric Corporation in West Valley, N.Y. 

She is a founding member of the 9/11 Memorial in New York City and a Member of Council of Advisors for the South Asian Cardiovascular Center at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital and NorthShore University HealthSystem in Chicago, Ill. 

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