Major Ken Howes
FOR RELEASE MAY 5, 1997:
TALLAHASSEE - Colonel Ron Grimming, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol, today announced that troopers will be trained in the use of Automatic External Defibrillators (AED's). Colonel Grimming accepted two portable heart defibrillators today at the FHP Training Academy in Tallahassee. Survivalink Corporation and Physio-Control Corporation, each presented FHP with one of their companies portable units for examination and testing proposes for this pilot program. FHP will be the first state law enforcement agency in the nation to carry these simple, lightweight, portable, lifesaving machines in the trunk of their patrol cars.
The Patrol has applied for a $300,000 grant from the Florida Department of Transportation (DOT) through the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration (NHSTA) to purchase 90 to 100 units for troopers who patrol remote areas of the state, where response time is critical to the survival rate of the patient. Studies show that when Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) strikes, seconds count! FHP plans on issuing the automatic external defibrillators to their First Responder personnel, helicopters, and troopers stationed in remote areas where troopers may be required to provide emergency care prior to the arrival of other emergency personnel.
In 1995, 82 drivers, 31 passengers, and 11 pedestrians died in non-traffic related crashes. FHP investigated over 50% of those fatalities. Also, approximately 350,000 Americans each year die from Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) which is the leading medical emergency in this country. Prompt use of an Automatic External Defibrillator can almost double the chance of survival of the victim!
This pilot program will utilize troopers who are either First Responders or certified EMT/paramedics. All troopers currently hold CPR certifications and would only need an additional six (6) hours of training to be certified on the portable AED's. The grant would also cover the cost of training all troopers in the use of AED's.
Suggested target areas of the state where the AED's would be first issued are the Florida Turnpike, Alligator Alley, Sawgrass expressway in Broward County, the Homestead Extension in Dade County, Collier, and Hendry Counties. Colonel Grimming said, "Automatic External Defibrillators have proven to save lives. This technology certainly provides us with an opportunity to better serve Florida's motorists during unexpected emergencies."