Every second counts

Published 4:31 pm Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

MURFREESBORO – Thanks to a grant from the Roanoke-Chowan Foundation, Murfreesboro police officers are now equipped with life-saving equipment that could make a difference to someone facing a medical emergency.

The Foundation, which is affiliated with ECU Health, granted the department $17,203 last August to purchase nine AEDs (automated external defibrillator). MPD Chief David Griffith said pandemic-related delays meant that they didn’t receive the devices until last month.

Once in their hands, Griffith said they set up a training session on Nov. 7 with Roanoke-Chowan Community College for every officer, including himself, to get familiar with operating the department’s new equipment. AEDs can assess a patient’s heart rhythm and provide a shock to restore heart rhythm if necessary.

Murfreesboro Police Officers McKinley Jordan (standing) and Johnny Joyner (left) observe Sgt. Bryan Johnson as he operates the automated external defibrillator during a training session at the town’s Municipal Building. Contributed Photo

“Every officer of the police department is now certified in CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and AED training,” Griffith said, also noting that the AEDs have been placed in all of the department’s vehicles.

The police chief said he and his officers took the training very seriously, utilizing both adult- and child-sized dummies as they practiced using the AED devices. He said the session was a good reminder that they can help save lives in the community.

The intention, Griffith said, isn’t to replace EMS services in medical emergencies, but to buy time for the patient before EMS arrives on scene. Their ambulances can be coming from anywhere in the county, and Murfreesboro officers are usually closer when emergency calls come from within the town.

“Oftentimes, we’re the first to get to a call,” he explained. “Those first few minutes are so critical when somebody’s heart stops beating. If we can be of assistance, that’s the goal.”

Chief Griffith said the grant he applied for was very competitive, and he expressed his gratitude for the Roanoke-Chowan Foundation for recognizing their need for the equipment. With a small town budget, he explained, they don’t always have the funds available to make these types of purchases.

But now every police vehicle contains an AED, and while Griffith hopes they never have to use them, they’ll be ready in case they do.