Avon police ask for community help to purchase AEDs

One of Avon Police Department's few automated external defibrillators. The department would like to have one for each full-time officer. (WISH Photo)

AVON, Ind. (WISH) — A Hendricks County police department is asking for help to get more officers a life-saving device.

The Avon Police Department would like all officer vehicles to have an automated external defibrillator, or AED.

The statistics for sudden cardiac arrest are staggering. It kills more people each year than breast cancer, prostate cancer, house fires, firearms, traffic accidents and AIDS combined, according to the American Heart Association. The only known treatment for sudden cardiac arrest is a shock from a defibrillator as quickly as possible.

The town of Avon has more than two dozen full time police officers, but only a few AEDs. Studies show officers are often first to the scene of a sudden cardiac arrest.

Avon Police Department Chief Sean Stoops said the AEDs have a long battery life and are easy to transport.

For Becky Halon, an Avon resident, no equipment could be more important for officers to have with them. She suffered from sudden cardiac arrest in 2010 at the age of 28.

“Nobody would have ever thought that I was going to suffer from sudden cardiac arrest, so when I did, if we would have had the ability to have someone get there quickly with an AED, say a police man would have stopped and had the AED, the likelihood that I would have survived would have been so much quicker and better,” Halon said. “I did survive, and I came out able to be a mom and wife again, but I had to go through a lot of rehab and therapy because my brain suffered from a brain injury due to being down for over an hour.”

Just in February, an Indiana State Trooper was able to save a man’s life with the help of an AED.

The units are not only helpful for police to respond with, but police are among the highest risk groups for death from sudden cardiac arrest.

Avon would also like to have AEDs available in its parks. When opened, the units automate instructions and children as young as 8 can effectively use them.

The Avon Police Department is working closely with Cardiac Science, an AED maker, and currently searching for grants; the units retail for about $1,300 each. It’s a cost Stoops said he would have to be spread out over many years to equip all of his officers.

If you would like to help the Avon Police Department purchase more of these units, you can donate to the Town of Avon Public Safety Foundation.

A report by the National Center of Health Statistics estimated improved access to these AEDs could save 40,000 lives a year in the United States alone. That’s equivalent to a cure for breast cancer.

It is important to note that most cardiac arrest events are witnessed by a loved one and if an AED is not available, you should do CPR until help can arrive.

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