Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
Area law enforcement agencies will receive automatic external defibrillators through a $10 million grant from the Iowa Department of Public Health to equip cruisers around the state with the lifesaving device.
An automatic external defibrillator, or AED, is a portable electronic device that can reestablish heart functions when someone is having a heart attack or other fatal heart emergency.
Washington Police Chief Jim Lester said the department applied for the grant last year when a survey went out to departments. He applied to get seven new AEDs to outfit all the department’s cruisers.
Rebecca Curtiss, bureau chief of the public health department’s Emergency and Trauma Services, said Washington police need to complete required training to get their devices shipped to them. She said 34 agencies have had their AEDs shipped from Stryker, the manufacturer, as of July 8.
The Washington department has some AEDs in its vehicles but doesn’t have one for each car, Lester said.
“We have seven vehicles in our fleet, and currently I believe we only have three or four AEDs,” he said. “So when that opportunity came up … I indicated we could use seven new ones, have them all be the same, and each of our vehicles would then be outfitted with those.”
Other area departments to receive AEDs include the Washington County Sheriff’s office, which will receive 23 devices, according to information provided by Curtiss. The Fairfield police department will receive four defibrillators.
Lt. Julie Kinsella with the Fairfield Police Department said the department has two working AEDs, but it can’t get parts for them so they’d need to be replaced if they malfunction.
Mt. Pleasant police and the Henry County Sheriff’s Office said they already have AEDs in each car and did not apply for the grant.
“We are not going to take part in this, we’ll let the other agencies have it,” Mt. Pleasant Chief Lyle Murray said.
The grant, announced in March, was provided by the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust to the Iowa Department of Public Health. It seeks to equip all law enforcement vehicles in the state with AEDs.
A news release said that people have a significantly higher survival rate when law enforcement, who are generally the first on the scene at emergencies, carry defibrillators.
“It’s well-known that whenever a patient or a victim suffers cardiac arrest, early CPR and early defibrillation are the keys to survival," Lester said.