Eugene police, fire, and health officials heartily announce defibrillator units for EPD vehicles
Eugene Police now have a new tool for their patrol vehicles: automated external defibrillators (AED.) The devices are expected to help save more lives outside the hospital.
Officials say nearly 50 EPD vehicles now carry AEDs, which deliver an electric shock to people suffering cardiac arrest. They add in the first week after they were implemented, two separate incidents occurred which required an AED.
A press release from the department said officers are not medics, but often arrive to emergency calls where someone is in medical distress or dying.
“Now our officers have a life-saving tool on hand when they are first on scene and someone is experiencing sudden cardiac arrest,” said Captain Doug Mozan. “Quick response with CPR and an AED can mean the difference between life or death, between health or permanent disability.”
The release goes on to say each year more than 350,000 cardiac arrests occur across the U.S., with typical survival rates of less than 10 percent.
The latest addition of 48 AEDs to the Eugene Police adds to over 40 AEDs already distributed across the City of Eugene.
Mike Caven, chief of Eugene Springfield Fire, told KLCC that prior to all this, people have had to rely solely on 911 for an AED response.
“Dispatchers are trained to provide instructions. And then it’s a waiting game for how close the nearest person with training and or access to an AED,” he said. “What this does is, it puts more units in circulation, and in proximity when the time comes.”
Funding for the new AEDs came from the Sacred Heart Medical Center Foundation, and Eugene Police Foundation.
The new AEDs for EPD vehicles are also helping the City of Eugene earn a special designation.
Caven said they are closer to becoming what’s called a “HEARTsafe Community”, which recognizes access to training and devices that help prevent heart attacks.
“We have access to AEDs, trained personnel, one of our firefighters has been working on this effort for the better part of a decade,” he said. “We’ve done a lot of work, it takes partnerships like these to build that safety net across the community, to make sure that people have positive outcomes if they experience cardiac arrest.”
Currently, no Oregon cities are listed on the HEARTsafe list of communities. Advocates say in addition to learning CPR, people can download the PulsePoint app which promotes AED registration and emergency response.