Pharos-Tribune

May 13, 2013

Police, city council hope new AEDs mean more lives saved

Six machines to be installed in squad cars this week.

by Caitlin Huston
Pharos-Tribune

— With less than 10 minutes to save a victim from cardiac arrest, the Logansport Police Department is working to beat the clock and save lives.

The Logansport Police Department will be equipping six squad cars with new automated external defibrillators after operating with fewer, out-of-date machines for several months. With the machines, used to shock the heart and revive normal heart function, the police department hopes to have officers quickly on scene and helping the victims.

The police department originally received four AED machines in the early 2000s from the Logansport Memorial Hospital, according to Assistant Chief Carl Swan. However, one machine broke down last year and another stopped working a few months ago.

“We’ve always wanted to get more,” Swan said.

The AED machines are critical for patrolmen, Swan said, because police are often the first people on the scene in emergency situations.

“We’re mostly going to be there before the ambulance or fire truck can be there,” Swan said.

Time is essential in situations like a heart attack because the victim’s chances of survival decrease every minute without aid from a defibrillator or CPR.

“Ten minutes go by, chances are slim to none that they’ll survive,” Swan said.

In a training with officers, Swan explained that the shock from the AED actually stops the heart so that the heart is able to regain a normal rhythm or so that the police can start administering CPR.

The machines at the police department are intended for use on adults or older children, but not for young children, Swan said.

The police department received the six new AED machines, which cost a total of $12,000, after a vote by city council.

The police department routinely has six cars on the road, so they’ll have a machine in each one.

City Councilman Joe Buck said the council thought having machines in all the police cars was a “hot-button” safety issue.

“When we took office, public safety and jobs were the top of our priority list,” Buck said.

He said the council fast-tracked the process in order to get the defibrillators in the cars as soon as possible.

“It has taken us about three months to get it from the thought process to the actual delivery and training,” Buck said.  

Police Chief Mike Clark said he’s thankful the city council helped the department have a wider reach in emergency care.

“We can have one in all areas of the city,” Clark said.

While Swan said many officers didn’t think they’d be involved in medical care, since the AEDs were first brought in, he said many have not hesitated to use them in emergency situations.

“A good portion of our guys have been hands on since we’ve got them,” Swan said.

The department conducts trainings on the machines every two years, he said.

Swan said the machines will be put into squad cars this week after all the officers go through training.

Caitlin Huston is a staff reporter of the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5148 or caitlin.huston@pharostribune.com.

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