Life Savers

Published 10:23 am Thursday, August 4, 2016

WINDSOR – They already save lives, now they have something that might allow them to save a few more.

Five more Bertie County Sheriff’s Office service vehicles will be receiving new automated external defibrillators (AED’s).

In a medical emergency when every second counts, the new addition to the cruisers could be the difference between life-and-death.

The new devices came about thanks to a $7,500 grant distributed through Vidant Bertie Hospital’s Community Benefit Grant Program.

“When I found out about it, I applied for it,” said Bertie Sheriff’s Lt. Kenny Perry with the department’s Domestic Violence Unit. “You receive them if you have something that can help the community.”

Vidant Bertie Hospital Community Relations Director Luann Joyner said the request for the AED’s fell well within the guidelines set by the hospital’s Development Council for community service.

“This county is so big,” said Joyner, “and they have at least one patrol car out and about at any time, so the idea is they could sometimes be first-responders. We just thought this was a great thing to promote healthy living, because if they save just one life it’s well worth every penny.”

Often, Sheriff’s officers arrive on scene ahead of Emergency Management Service personnel. They could possibly be in situations where a cardiac issue would occur before EMS or Paramedic assistance arrives.

“Our goal is to have one defibrillator in every patrol car,” Perry added. “We drive these cars 24/7 and sometimes we might be right on top of an EMS call and we could get there and start life-saving measures if we had to; especially at, say, two o’clock in the morning when we might be right around the corner from a call.”

Five AED units with carrying case – LifePak CR Plus – were purchased by the Sheriff’s Office last year, all outfitted for patrol cars. With this year’s grant, the department plans to purchase five more: three for patrol cars, one for the new Sheriff’s Office location on County Farm Road, and one for the Bertie County Courthouse.

“These ones we have are compatible with the ones on our ambulances, so once they (EMS) arrive on the scene and we’re already hooked up, they can plug right into ours and won’t have to change anything on the patient,” Perry noted. “Hopefully this will make us another life-saving resource.”

While all Bertie’s deputies have received CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) training, and carry certification cards, the AED’s Bertie has purchased come with automated voice prompts.

“It’s kind of idiot-proof,” Perry acknowledged. “You turn it on and it gives you directions on how to put the pads on and when to administer the shock.”

Mitch Cooper, the county Emergency Management Services Director, has provided training for the deputies in the use of the defibrillators through his office.

The new AED’s will be ordered and should arrive in Windsor sometime this month.