FIT purchases AED for police department

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OCEAN CITY — Seeking to improve the response time in a cardiac emergency, members of Fairness in Taxes recently purchased an automated external defibrillator for the Ocean City Police Department.

“It was very nice for the organization to donate the AED,” Ocean City Police Chief Chad Callahan said.

An AED, he said, is an expensive purchase.

“It’s nice of them to allocate their funds to help others. We all know how important an AED can be in an emergency,” he said.

The AED is a portable electronic device used to diagnose and treat potentially life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias through defibrillation, or electric shock. This allows the heart to re-establish an effective rhythm.

Using simple audio and visual commands, AED’s are designed to be simple to use, and are found in most public buildings on the island.

FIT member Pete Guinosso said that since police officers were often the first to respond, they could begin administering first aid instead of waiting for an Emergency Medical Technician.

“A majority of the time, a police officer is the first on the scene,” Callahan said. “The police car is on the road, but the EMTs in the fire department are close behind. With the AED in the police car, the police officer can begin assisting a potential victim until an EMT arrives.”

“We thought this would help,” Guinosso said at a Feb. 2 FIT meeting.

Callahan said the OCPD has an AED at headquarters at Eighth Street and Central Avenue and, with the one FIT provided, will have two on the road at all times. One will now be in a supervisor’s police car, which is roaming throughout the city.

“Police officers are trained, but they are not EMTs,” Callahan said. “An AED is a great tool to help the police officer help the victim, to provide medical care to someone in need. The police department is very thankful.”

He said the officer having the device will also add a level of comfort for family members.

“It’s a good way to get help started until an ambulance arrives. The family and victim are happy to see someone there who can be of some help. In Ocean City we have the gold standard in response to emergency situations. You can’t go anywhere in the country and find a faster response. Someone is there to help usually in a matter of seconds,” he said.

During an emergency, once the EMTs are on the scene, the police officer’s role changes.

“Nine times out of 10, we provide traffic control, helping to divert traffic around an accident or fire, whatever the emergency may be, and helping then to get the ambulance on its way,” he said. “We all play a role and the AED will certainly assist in helping a victim.

“We will have an AED on the road 24 hours a day and that’s a good thing. This enhances the chances that someone’s life will be saved,” he said.

At the FIT meeting, members discussed the possibility of providing an additional AED for the police department. They also considered purchasing some fire gear for the police officers.

A police officer was the first on the scene at a recent fire at 35th Street and West Avenue and had to be treated for smoke inhalation.

“The police officer ran in the house to help get the woman out, and had to go to the hospital. If they had some fire gear in the police car, it might help,” Guinosso said.

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