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Soldotna police eligible for grant: Money slated for defibrillators

Posted: Thursday, April 30, 2009

President Barack Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 into law for the purpose of providing a stimulus to the U.S. economy, but how about saving lives?

That's just what the Soldotna Police Department intends to use its share of the stimulus funds for.

The SPD requested $24,206 in the form of a grant to equip every officer with their own automated external defibrillator.

"Early deployment is instrumental in saving lives," said Soldotna Chief of Police John Lucking Jr. "Police are generally first on scene anyway."

Because police are usually the first to respond to a 911 call, should there be a cardiac arrest victim, the police officer can act prior to the arrival of an ambulance.

"In cardiac arrest, every second counts and makes a difference in the ability of persons to survive otherwise fatal events," Lucking said in a written statement released Monday. "The shortest span between cardiac arrest and defibrillation (is) the most important critical determinant in the survival of cardiac emergencies."

The AEDs are not only useful for victims suffering heart attacks, but also for overdose cases, poisonings and drowning victims.

Lucking said he will encourage officers to have their portable, lunch box-sized AEDs with them at all times, both on and off the clock. He said off-duty officers having their AEDs in their vehicles at all times will benefit the community.

"In the event of a serious natural or man-made disaster where transportation routes are disrupted, these AEDs would already be in neighborhoods around the community in the hands of someone trained to use them," Lucking said.

Each officer carrying an AED will also provide a higher level of care for tourists visiting the peninsula, he said.

The SPD has already submitted the paperwork and are just waiting for the check. Lucking said he expects to receive the funds before the rush of the summer season.

For the amount of money available and cost of the defibrillators, Lucking said it was a great time to purchase AEDs.

"It just kind of fit the bill," he said.

"(These AEDs) will ultimately result in reduced mortality and morbidity from cardiac arrest for adults and children in our community," Lucking said. "Acquisition of AEDs will allow the SPD to comply with current best practices of the law enforcement establishment and potentially improve the safety and life expectancy of Soldotna's visitors and residents alike."

Mike Nesper can be reached at mike.nesper@peninsulaclarion.com.



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