Officer Safety Corner: Saving Lives with Law Enforcement AED Programs

Approximately 1,000 people in the United States alone die each day from sudden cardiac arrest, leading to approximately half a million deaths each year.1 Currently, the only effective treatment for cardiac arrest is cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and a shock (or shocks) from an automated external defibrillator (AED) administered as quickly as possible. Despite common misunderstandings, cardiac arrest is not a heart attack. Heart attacks occur when a blocked artery prevents oxygen-rich blood flow to a section of the heart. Cardiac arrest is when the heart has an electrical malfunction disrupting blood flow to the brain, lungs, and vital organs. The American Heart Association reports that for every minute a person is in cardiac arrest, his or her chance of successful resuscitation decreases by 7 to 10 percent.2 Fire and EMS have response time goals of six minutes to 90 percent of their 911 calls.4 If an individual went into cardiac arrest and had to wait six minutes for a fire or EMS crew to respond, the risk of death would be increased by 60 percent.5