N.D. Sheriffs Add AEDs to Cruiser Equipment

N.D. Sheriffs Add AEDs to Cruiser Equipment

News Nov 20, 2012

Nov. 20--Law enforcement in Jamestown and Stutsman County has new life-saving tools in case crews arrive on scene of a health emergency before the ambulance -- automated external defibrillators.

Thanks to a Homeland Security grant of more than $20,000, the Stutsman County Sheriff's Department, Jamestown Police Department, Jamestown Fire Department and Jamestown Regional Airport Firefighter Rescue are all now equipped with AEDs.

"A decision was made that we spend the entire grant on AEDs," said Jerry Bergquist, Stutsman County emergency manager.

An AED is a portable device used to administer electric shock to the heart to help restore its normal rhythm during cardiac arrest.

The sheriff's department will have eight AEDs, the police will have four, the fire department will have two and there will be one at the airport.

"There's very few times we agree on something so quickly, but this was a no-brainer," Bergquist said.

Only 8 percent of people who suffer a cardiac arrest survive, leaving 300,000 dead each year, according to the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association.

"We are better off," said Stutsman County Sheriff Chad Kaiser, having the equipment. "We can save a life."

Not always, but sometimes law enforcement will arrive on scene before the ambulance. In cases where there is cardiac arrest those first few minutes can be essential.

"It's rare that the ambulance is behind us on calls, but on occasion we can get there before they do," said Scott Edinger, Jamestown police chief.

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The AEDs are identical to the ones used by Jamestown Area Ambulance. This means when initial responders start with the AEDs paramedics can pick right up.

Fire Chief Jim Reuther said it's a tool that will be used to protect citizens and firefighters.

"When it comes down to reality it's unfortunate, but it's probably going to be used on one of us," Reuther said.

By the middle of next month all officers will be trained on proper usage of the AEDs, and will be able to use them said Nancy Miller, Jamestown Area Ambulance business manager.

"We're making sure everybody is trained before going out there," Miller said.

Sun reporter Ben Rodgers can be reached at 701-952-8455 or by email at brodgers@jamestownsun.com

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