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Kiowa County Sheriff’s vehicles now carry life-saving defibrillators

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PICT - Kiowa County Press Icon
Chris Sorensen

Vehicles in the Kiowa County Sheriff’s fleet will now carry potentially life-saving automated external defibrillators – commonly referred to as AEDs – to assist people suffering from cardiac arrest.

The new devices, sold by Cardiac Science, require minimal training and provide audible instructions in English or Spanish for each step of the process. Sensors placed at two locations on the patient’s body determine if an electric shock needs to be administered, and the amount of power to needed, to help a patient’s heart re-establish a regular beat. The device does most of the assessment and work – there are no buttons or switches – so the person providing assistance only needs to place the defibrillator pads on the patient.

PICT AED training at KCSO - Chris Sorensen

Automated External Defibrillators (AED) like this one used during training will now be on board all Kiowa County Sheriff's Office vehicles. Photo: / Chris Sorensen

The AED will also assist in performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), determining if chest compressions are deep enough and timed properly, as well as when to deliver a breath for the patient.

Sheriff Casey Sheridan noted the minimal training required means “you can’t mess up” in a hectic, noisy environment, such as along a roadside.

Information about the number of shocks delivered, CPR efforts and other data are recorded by the AED and can be quickly downloaded when additional medical assistance arrives. A display screen provides the same records to medical personnel at the scene.

Maintenance is similarly simplified. Batteries are replaced every four years, while the single-use defibrillation pads are only replaced every two years, or after being used on a patient. A daily check of a red/green status light shows whether the device is functioning properly.

PICT KCSO with New AEDs for vehicles - Chris Sorensen

Members of the Kiowa County Sheriff's Office display new Automated External Defibrillators which will be carried in each agency vehicle. Photo: / Chris Sorensen

In sparsely-populated parts of rural Colorado such as Kiowa County, law enforcement officers are often first to arrive at a medical emergency. Cardiac arrest strikes an estimated 600,000 people in the United States each year, with nearly two-thirds occurring outside a hospital. People survive in less than six percent of those cases, according to information from the National Academy of Sciences. The chances of surviving decrease 10 percent for every minute between the start of the heart attack and restoring a heartbeat. The AEDs now carried by the Kiowa County Sheriff’s Office can help improve survival chances in the area.

The Sheriff’s Office purchased three AEDs, while funding for the addition two devices was provided by the Southeastern Colorado Regional Emergency Trauma Advisory Council with assistance from Eunice Weber, Director of Kiowa County Ambulance Service.