April 5, 2018 – Saving the life of cardiac arrest victims is based on the speed by which medical attention can be provided; the quicker the victim is treated with an automated external defibrillator (AED), the higher the likelihood of survival. Getting first responders to a medical emergency in time is a challenge that is common in our rural community; especially in areas of the county where emergency medical services are comprised of volunteers who often must leave their home or work to get an ambulance, and then respond to the call. Yuma County Sheriff’s Office deputies are often the first ones to arrive on these types of calls, due to the fact that they are already on duty and out patrolling the county.
Deputies have always been trained and certified to administer life saving first-aid and CPR, including the use of an AED, but they have never been equipped with AED’s in the field. This is why the Yuma County Sheriff’s Office is excited to announce the implementation of AED’s in each of their patrol cars. The Sheriff’s Office began this project in 2014 after the unfortunate death of a Yuma County resident due to cardiac arrest. At that time, the Undersheriff happened to be within a mile of a residence when a medical call came from dispatch. After arriving on scene within minutes, lifesaving efforts were made, however, it took nearly another twenty minutes for an AED to arrive on scene, much too late to have an impact on the lifesaving efforts.
At a cost of nearly $1,500 per AED, the purchase of these lifesaving devices for every patrol car, along with new units to replace the outdated and expired ones in the jail and admin area of the Sheriff’s Office, required outside funding to be sought. Since 2014, the Sheriff’s Office has applied for multiple grants to fund the project but had been unsuccessful until late last year when they were awarded $14,500 from a Department of Homeland Security grant to fund 10 of the 13 required units. The new AED’s arrived and were put into service with deputies this week.
Sheriff Chad Day says he’s glad to finally see the funding for this project come together. “I’m comforted in knowing that we have another lifesaving tool in the hands of deputies on patrol. We obviously hope that people won’t need them, but this is a very useful step toward being prepared to assist when it is absolutely crucial.” The Sheriff’s Office has already applied for the same grant in 2018, hoping to receive funding to purchase the final 3 AED’s to complete the project.