Patrol cars to get defibrillators
Had it not been for a defibrillator at Korry Electronics, one of Marlo Holloway‘s students might have died last year after he suffered a seizure at the company’s Seattle office.
“But he had a heartbeat after the first shock,” said Holloway, who was teaching a CPR class.
Now, Seattle police hope the devices — known as Automated External Defibrillators — will save many more lives.
The department announced Friday that its 225 patrol cars will be equipped with the lunch-box-sized defibrillators, thanks to a $630,000 project.
The devices will make the Seattle police force one of the few metropolitan departments in the country to have them.
Support came from the Seattle Police Foundation, the American Heart Association, Philips Medical Systems and Mercer Island residents Craig and Julie Tall.
The devices use two pads, which are attached to a cardiac arrest victim’s chest, and help the person’s heart beat normally.
The defibrillators, which cost $2,500 each, will be installed in patrol cars starting next month. By the end of June 2007, all patrol cars will have them.
“Because we’re so spread out across the city, we want to put in the hands of every one of these police officers an instrument … that will help them to help the people we serve,” said Chief Gil Kerlikowske.
The idea for patrol cars to have the devices started about four years ago, largely because of Officer P.B. Nicholls, who is passionate about medical training.
But finding the money remained a problem.
The department worked with the foundation, which gave about $150,000, and the Talls, who donated $100,000. Philips is donating about half of the devices, worth about $375,000.
For Craig Tall, a bank executive, it is a way to give back to the city where he was born.
“They say that for every minute you don’t have treatment, you reduce your chance of living by 10 percent,” he said.
Two heart attacks and open-heart surgery opened his eyes to cardiovascular health, he said. His doctor finally introduced him to the American Heart Association.
The Police Department has more than 1,200 officers, and Kerlikowske said they receive annual medical training.
But the device, he added, gives automated voice commands and is easy to use.
“It’s so simple, even I can use this effectively,” he said.