Police officers have a vital role to play in fighting a major killer — sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). Santa Clara’s public safety arsenal is expanding to include automated external defibrillators (AEDs) to give anyone struck down by SCA another chance at life.
According to Police Chief Michael Sellers, “Because early defibrillation is becoming the standard of care in many communities, the public will increasingly expect officers to arrive on the scene not only with their radios, but with AEDs as well.”
Effective Sept. 20, Santa Clara police officers received training from the Santa Clara Fire Department on how to properly use an AED and the necessary supplies have been acquired. Meanwhile, Communications Dispatchers have been trained to deploy AED-equipped officers.
Sudden cardiac arrest can happen anywhere, anytime to people of all ages in all walks of life, including law enforcement officers. An electrical malfunction that makes the heart quiver in a deadly rhythm called ventricular fibrillation (VF) usually causes SCA. A lifesaving pulse of electricity is the single most effective way to restore the heart’s normal rhythm.
Every minute counts. Only about five percent of people struck by SCA survive. But if people receive CPR and the lifesaving AED shock within three minutes of collapse, the survival rate can increase up to 74 percent. Reducing response time by even 1 or 2 minutes from collapse to shock can mean the difference between death and survival.
Initially, five AED units were purchased using Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grant funds for this first phase of the deployment. Eventually, Sellers plans for all of the Santa Clara Police Department’s patrol vehicles to be equipped with AEDs.