The Illinois heart and Lung Foundation is putting 43 Automatic heart shockers in Bloomington Normal Police squad cars. the $70,000 donation will put the Automatic External Defibrillators where they can be used quickly according to Cardiologist Jim McCriskin.
"The whole goal is to try to put AEDs in the hands people who are first responders. It doesn't take a high level of additional burden in education on the part of police departments to educate their officers. I mean these units are devised to be very straightforward, very simple."
McCriskin says the AEDs have saved at least three twin cities lives in the last couple years including one last week at Country Insurance. Normal Police will take 28 of the devices, one for each police vehicle. Rick Bleichner is the Police Chief for the Town of Normal.. Bleichner says having all 28 police vehicles equipped instead of the current two could make a big difference for officers if someone has sudden cardiac arrest.
"You want to get there. You want to get to that person and assess it and see what needs to be done. Sometimes you may forget that you have another vehicle within a half mile with an AED in it. If you have it in the car, that is one less thing they have to think about."
Bloomington will have fifteen for officers to check out as they go on shift.
The Heart and Lung Foundation is also trying to track the more than 200 AEDs placed in the community over the last 13 years to make sure the batteries are changed, people are trained to use them and that they are accessible. The renewed effort is called Operation Revive.
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