Campus police tackle cardiac arrests with CPR and AED training

Beth Wilberding

Every day, a person dies of cardiac arrest because life-saving equipment wasn’t available quickly enough. So campus police are doing their part in helping combat medical emergencies on the Hill.

Campus police purchased three automatic external defibrillators to carry with them in patrol cars, bringing their total to four.

Officers spent Feb. 12 being trained on the AEDs and CPR, campus police chief Robert Deane said.

“It’s one more service we can provide to the university,” he said.

AEDs are “small, lightweight devices that look at a person’s heart rhythm … and can recognize sudden cardiac arrest,” according to aedsafety.com. They are used to revive people when they go into cardiac arrest.

According to fastheartbeat.com, sudden cardiac arrest kills more than 450,000 people per year.

Campus police officer Lee McKinney said the training the officers received was comprehensive.

“We covered CPR and AEDs,” he said. “As our job as first responders, it could possibly come in handy.”

In training, officers were told it can take emergency medical services three to eight minutes to respond to a call on campus.

But with the AEDs available to officers, it cuts down the time in which someone can respond.

“In the event of someone having a heart attack, it’s been proven that the faster the defibrillators are used, the better it is,” McKinney said.

Campus police Capt. Mike Wallace said the AEDs benefit the university because campus police would be able to respond to calls quickly.

“The AEDs are here on campus,” he said. “They’re in the patrol cars. We can have them immediately to virtually any point on campus in just a few minutes.”

Campus police previously received a defibrillator from the Preston Center.

Each new defibrillator cost $2,500. Campus police paid for them out of their budget.

Campus police haven’t had to use the AEDs yet, McKinney said.

“We’ve taken them out to a couple of scenes, but haven’t had to hook them up to anybody,” he said.

Reach Beth Wilberding at [email protected]