-For The Herald-
East Pierce Fire and Rescue received a $10,000 grant which will be used to supply seven automated external defibrillators to each of the Sumner and Edgewood police stations. The department recently donated 10 AEDs to Milton.
The devices are used to treat life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias.
“It fires an electrical charge to reboot the heart and generate a pulse,” said Russ McCallion, an assistant chief for East Pierce Fire and Rescue.
With the grant from the University of Washington, East Pierce Fire and Rescue purchased 14 refurbished defibrillators.
“This cut the cost in almost half,” McCallion said. “They have probably never been used, or are hardly used.
“This is a great way to make this work,” McCallion added. “It’s part of our program to improve survival.”
East Pierce Fire and Rescue recently was awarded the Heart Safe Community Award for its efforts of increasing cardiac arrest survival. The department reports cardiac arrest survival for patients has increased from 10 percent from 2006-10 to 41 percent in the past two years.
That’s why the department donated the AEDs to the police departments.
“It is emotionally and physically draining when someone drops in front of you,” McCallion said. “But it is empowering to equip these life-saving devices.
That being said, they don’t work like people sometimes see on TV, he said.
“CPR buys time for the patient to be shocked, but it’s the shock that saves their life,” McCallion said.
For every minute of delay in starting CPR on someone who is in cardiac arrest, the chance of survival falls by 10 percent, according to the American Heart Association.
With the addition of seven devices at the Sumner Police Department, Police Chief Brad Moericke said they will be “pretty darn close” to having a defibrillator in every car.
“I think it’s an awesome example of partnership,” Moericke said. “We want to recognize East Pierce for their efforts.”
“Hopefully we get more grants and can work with Bonney Lake (police department) and the (Pierce County) sheriff’s (deputies),” McCallion said. “We would like to work with them in the future.”
The fire district works with several police agencies and has a good working relationship with all of them, McCallion said.
“I think it’s a win-win,” he said.
“It’s important to have patrol officers, and now another benefit is having them with life-saving devices,” he added.
The Sumner Police department will present a plaque to East Pierce Fire and Rescue on Monday during the Sumner City Council meeting.