Officers were also given bystander CPR training recommended by the American Heart Association to accompany the AEDs installed in their patrol vehicles.
Every year in the U.S., according to the data, around 424,000 people suffer from cardiac arrests outside of the hospital.
“Sudden cardiac arrest though is different from a heart attack- which is usually caused by blocked arteries,” says Dr. Barry Knapp, professor of emergency medicine and director of the EVMS Emergency Medicine Residency Program.
“During cardiac arrest, the heart short circuits causing it to beat ineffectively. Patients become unconscious almost immediately. Only a ‘reset’ from an electrical shock gives it a chance to resume beating. Combining bystander CPR along with early AED use, maximizes the chance for survival,” he added.
This is the first time Norfolk Police officers will have access to AEDs while on patrol.
The Virginia Beach Police Department has had access to AEDs for all of their patrol vehicles for the past 12 to 15 years, officials said.
Norfolk Police spokesman Daniel Hudson said there were no attempts prior to this gift of 36 AEDs to outfit the patrol vehicles with the lifesaving device.
“No, not that I can recall,” Hudson said, in regards to prior efforts made.
“No reason,” he responded to questions asking about the reasons why no AEDs were purchased prior to this gift.
The VBPD received its first set of AEDs as a gift from the local EMS team, and each year as part of their budget they have money set aside to replace AEDs.
The Brock institute donated the AEDs to the Norfolk police department, a gift estimated at $34,000, Hudson said in a news release.
The NPD will be finding money within its existing budget to replace or update any AEDs in the future, he said, and will not be requesting additional funds from City Council.
“The Norfolk Police Department will be locating funds to ensure that AEDs are on a lifecycle management schedule to ensure the program continues,” Hudson said.
Additionally, the NPD will be seeking to outfit its Special Operations Team and the Harbor Patrol Unit with additional AEDs, Hudson said.
The Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office’s marked units do not currently carry AEDs, but the VBSO is in the process of discussing the addition of AEDs in the future, said Kathy Hieatt, sheriff’s spokeswoman.
To learn more about AEDs, CPR and other Heartsaver Courses available to the public, click here.