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Bellevue police now responding to heart attack calls

Bellevue Police officer Seth Tyler with an automatic external defibrillator (AED). All Bellevue patrol officers will now have the device in their squad cars.    - Joshua Adam Hicks / Bellevue Reporter
Bellevue Police officer Seth Tyler with an automatic external defibrillator (AED). All Bellevue patrol officers will now have the device in their squad cars.
— image credit: Joshua Adam Hicks / Bellevue Reporter

Bellevue police will now respond to cardiac arrest incidents thanks to a new program that put automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) in all city squad cars.

Police who arrive first to the scene of a heart failure will begin resuscitation efforts and deliver defibrillator shocks. Emergency medical responders will take over resuscitation duties once they arrive on scene.

The program is part of a two-year initiative to help improve cardiac arrest survival in King County, which is already a worldwide leader in that respect.

Bellevue and Kent were selected to take part in the program to represent the Eastside and South County respectively.

Public Health – Seattle & King County and the Washington State Life Sciences Discovery Fund are driving the effort, designed to determine whether having an additional responder improves survival rates for victims of heart failure.

"Shortening the time to receiving the first defibrillation is critical to improving chances for survival, so including nearby police in the emergency response chain is a promising approach," said Mickey Eisenberg, medical director for the King County Emergency Medical Services Division of Public Health.

AEDs effectively jump-start the heart with electrical shocks.

Most AEDs provide verbal, step-by-step instructions, making them simple enough for a layperson to use. Such devices are sometimes placed in heavily populated areas like shopping centers, sports stadiums and airports.

Bellevue police officers are certified on a regular basis in basic first aid, CPR and now AED use.

The Bellevue Police Department trained all of its officers on AED use before Feb. 16, and launched its first-response program on March 1.

None of the officers had used the AEDs at the Reporter deadline Thursday, according to Bellevue Police spokeswoman Carla Iafrate.

(Story originally posted March 3)

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