Mercer Island patrol cars equipped with automated external defibrillators

A Rotary Club grant and anonymous Islander's donation have enabled the Mercer Island Police Department to equip six marked patrol cars with automated external defibrillators. The life-saving devices are used to treat sudden cardiac arrest victims.

An AED is administered along with cardiopulmonary resuscitation and sends a shock to the heart during a cardiac arrest, which happens when an irregular heart rhythm prevents the heart from pumping blood into the brain and vital organs.

A sudden cardiac arrest victim's chance of survival decreases by 10 percent for every minute that passes without resuscitation.

"With SCA, every second counts. By outfitting patrol cars with AEDs and training our officers how to use them properly, the Police Department aims to help save lives by decreasing response times to SCA," said Police Chief Ed Holmes.

The police department received a $10,293 grant from Rotary and $2,000 from an anonymous giver to purchase the AEDs.

"The Police Department is grateful for the generosity of the Rotary Club and the anonymous donor who made it possible to equip our officers with these potentially life-saving devices," said Holmes.

All Mercer Island Fire Department fire trucks and emergency medical services vehicles already have defibrillators. AEDs are also available in many public facilities for use by trained residents during sudden cardiac arrest incidents.

The fire department offers training classes in first aid and CPR with AED use throughout the year for Mercer Island residents.

"The police and fire departments want to encourage interested residents to get first aid and CPR with AED training. Studies show that bystander CPR can play an important role in contributing to successful resuscitation. If a bystander can initiate CPR prior to the arrival of a fire department aid unit, the chance of saving a life increases," said Fire Chief Chris Tubbs.

First aid and adult CPR with AED classes, as well as infant, child and adult CPR with AED classes, are held once every month, except July, August and December, at a low cost. To sign up for a training class, contact Fire Department Administrative Assistant Jolene Judd at (206) 275-7607. All classes are located at the Main Fire Station, 3030 78th Avenue S.E.

For more information on automated external defibrillators and sudden cardiac arrest, go to the fire department's Web site on public access defibrillators.

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