ARLINGTON – Police are getting life-saving portable defibrillators to keep in their vehicles for emergency calls thanks to a donation from the Arlington Rotary Club.
The $12,284 community contribution grant will pay for eight automated external defibrillators, or AEDs, that are designed to be used by anyone. Voice prompts and text screen messages enable first-time rescuers to act quickly when responding to a heart attack.
Police Chief Jonathan Ventura said that every marked patrol car will be outfitted with one.
“We will be able to respond to any CPR call in progress,” he said, adding, “We will automatically be dispatched at the same time as the fire department in case one of our cars is closer to the call.”
The department previously received six AEDs from a Cascade Valley Hospital donation, and those units are still in use.
In a country where the survival rate for cardiac arrest is only about 5 percent, Ventura said every minute counts.
He cited a New England Journal of Medicine study of security officers who were trained to use AEDs in U.S. casinos. There was a 74 percent survival rate among adults who experienced sudden cardiac arrest if the defibrillation was delivered within three minutes.
For every minute that passes without CPR and early defibrillation, the chance of survival decreases by as much as 10 percent, according to the American Heart Association.
The association estimates that making access available to defibrillators in communities could save up to 100,000 lives a year.
“If it saves one life, it’s worth the cost,” Ventura said.
The AEDs retail for about $3,000, but city staff were able to obtain them for half the price.
Ventura credited Rotary past president Eric Granroth and president Jola Barnett for their grant work and support.