All 20 Coon Rapids Police Department squad cars now come equipped with an AED (automated external defibrillator).
Nineteen were purchased in December 2012 by the police department with money included in the 2012 city budget by the Coon Rapids City Council.
The 20th was donated by the Coon Rapids Kiwanis Club.
In a presentation at the club’s weekly meeting at the Coon Rapids VFW Jan. 31, Kiwanis club member Paul Mendoza gave the AED purchased by the club – the retail prize is $2,400 – to Coon Rapids Police Chief Brad Wise.
“This will save lives in the city,” Mendoza said.
According to Wise, the Kiwanis club approached the police department to donate an AED after learning of the department’s plans to have one in every squad car.
“We and the citizens of Coon Rapids are very grateful for the club’s generosity,” Wise said.
Both police and fire are first responders to medical emergencies and while the fire department has an AED in all its vehicle, the police department until now has not had any, he said.
A police officer on patrol in the city is quite often the first person to arrive at the scene of a sudden cardiac arrest, Wise said.
“In those situations timing is everything to the victim’s survival,” he said.
Which was why the police department asked the council to include the AEDs as part of the 2012 budget, Wise said.
And all patrol officers have been trained in the use of an AED as well as CPR (cardio-pulmonary resuscitation), he said.
The purchase was delayed until December when the city’s new indoor garage for city vehicles was completed at the Coon Rapids City Center, according to Wise.
Until then, the police squad cars were parked outdoors in all weather conditions, Wise said.
That would not have been good for the batteries of the AEDs in cold weather, he said.
“Having an AED in all our police squads will increase the chances of saving lives,” Wise said.
Wise is passionate about the worth of AEDs, he said.
Back in 1992, his father died from sudden cardiac arrest while he was in car outside Sand Creek Elementary School, according to Wise.
“I often wonder what might have been if there had been AEDs then,” Wise said.
Having an AED in each squad car is a “big deal,” he said.
According to the Wikipedia website, an automated external defibrillator (AED) is a portable electronic device that automatically diagnoses the potentially life threatening cardiac arrhythmias of ventricular fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia in a patient, and is able to treat them through defibrillation, the application of electrical therapy which stops the arrhythmia, allowing the heart to re-establish an effective rhythm.
Peter Bodley is at [email protected]