When responding to any incident it is vital that the police are working in conjunction with the ambulance services. First response and time to an incident can mean the difference between life and death. On many occasions police arrive to the scene of an accident first and therefore, it is logical and essential that police vehicles are kitted out with full medical packs and the knowledge to use them. These kits include oxygen, bandages, treatment for burns and neck braces. The Cheshire police are teaming up with the ambulance service to extend the medical packs to include Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs).
A defibrillator is a small, light-weight device that detects the irregular heart rhythms of ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation when a sudden cardiac arrest has occurred. The AED will administer a shock, if required, to force the heart to regain its normal rhythm. Early recognition, CPR and defibrillation are the only effective way to treat a sudden cardiac arrest and resuscitate the patient.
The Cheshire Police have launched the initiative to equip police vehicles with AEDs as most often they are the first to arrive on the scene of an incident to review the situation. The first few minutes are crucial to the survival of a sudden cardiac arrest victim and to wait for an ambulance to arrive could mean they do not receive the urgent treatment they need to survive. Constable Andrew Connor, from the Cheshire Unit, has said “we’re trained to act as medical first responders and all operational police officers in Cheshire know how to use a defibrillator. This equipment adds a whole new dimension to what we are able to do.”
Anyone can use a defibrillator as they give step by step verbal instructions on how to treat the patient and where to place the pads on the patient’s chest. If no irregular heart rhythm is detected then the AED will not administer a shock. However, appropriate medical training may give the user confidence to use the machine competently and effectively, continuing the treatment with chest compressions and rescue breaths.
70% of cardiac arrests happen outside of the hospital environment, with 95% of patients dying before they ever reach the hospital. This is why it is so important to introduce a defibrillator as early as possible, to maximise the potential of survival. With every passing minute without defibrillation the victim loses 10% of their chance of survival. If more police vehicles were equipped with life-saving defibrillators, anyone who has suffered from a cardiac arrest may be treated quicker and lives will be saved.
This article was provided by DefibShop – suppliers of Defibrillator Equipment and Supplies.