SPD to carry automated external defibrillators

Posted: Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Soldotna Police Department will soon be equipping officers with automated external defibrillators that would allow them to tend to victims of cardiac arrest.

Soldotna police Chief John Lucking said all 15 of his officers should be getting the lunch-box-sized devices by mid-December.

Lucking cited medical studies that demonstrated that the shortest span between cardiac arrest and defibrillation is the most critical determinant in a patient surviving a cardiac emergency.

He said in one study of a Miami-Dade program, survival rates for cardiac victims nearly doubled after officers began carrying defibrillators. Lucking said Soldotna officers keep the life-saving equipment even when off duty.

"It will be a huge advantage for them to have them wherever they go," he said. "An officer can put it in their personal car on their day off, and then they'll have it wherever they need to use it, such as at a restaurant or their kid's soccer game."

"We're always out and about in our routine patrol of the community," Lucking said. "so if there's an EMS or 911 call, we may be nearer to the scene and be able to reach a cardiac arrest victim prior to the arrival of an ambulance."

The defibrillators were bought with a $24,206 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice. Lucking said all officers will be trained to use them.

The defribrillators are not the only piece of equipment that Soldotna police are getting. Lucking said officers also will soon get barcode readers and scanners for their in-car computers. With the new equipment, officers will be able to scan a person's license and registration, and have this information added electronically to a citation.

"It will be much more readable citation, and it can be done much quicker," Lucking said. "It should only take about five minutes as opposed to writing a citation which can take 20 to 25 minutes."

The barcode readers and scanners were bought with a $87,000 federal grant.

Joseph Robertia can be reached at joseph.robertia@peninsulaclarion.com.

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