Iowa county police begin equipping vehicles with AEDs
The Story County Sheriff's Office has launched its Defibs Save Lives campaign, which aims to ensure that the county becomes a heart safe community
By Grayson Schmidt
STORY COUNTY, Iowa — For the past few years, the Story County Sheriff's Office has been trying to outfit each of its vehicles with automated external defibrillators (AED), and this week that process was started as the first AED was installed in Deputy Joel Navratil's patrol vehicle.
"This is a tool that, having it there on-scene, could save someone's life, it just depends on if we're in the right place at the right time," Navratil said. "If I'm on duty and something comes up, where somebody does have heart-related issues, and I'm in the area or close to the area, this device could make the difference between life and death for that person."
The Story County Sheriff's Office has launched its Defibs Save Lives campaign in partnership with Arrhythmia Alliance (A-A), which aims to ensure that Story County becomes a heart safe community.
And according to Sheriff's Office Sgt. Elizabeth Quinn, most AEDs now are lightweight and easy enough to use so that deputies are able to attach the defibrillator pads to a person like a sticker and press a button.
"The model that we chose is very user-friendly, so it prompts you on the step-by-step procedures and what you need to do," Quinn said.
Quinn said that this is hopefully the first of 41 AEDs the Sheriff's Office will be able to purchase, but given the price per device — roughly $1,600 with about $200 in upkeeping per year — she understands that the goal might take a little time to reach.
"It's slow, but we're making ground because we're gathering donations from the public," Quinn said. "We have enough now that we are about to be able to be able to purchase a second AED."
But from there Quinn said the Sheriff's Office will hopefully receive donations from community members who also see the value in outfitting each vehicle with AEDs.
According to the Sheriff's Office every year 360,000 American citizens die from Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA), almost 1,000 per day, and yet 80 percent of the deaths could be avoided with the use of CPR and using an AED. And CPR alone only provides a 9 percent chance of survival but when used with an AED, that number increases to more than 50 percent.
Quinn said that because all deputies know how to use AEDs as part of their training, they understand the importance of having these valuable tools in their vehicles.
"It's really crucial that we have these available and on-hand at all times," Quinn said. "I know that each (deputy) will be excited to have one as well in case they need it."
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