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University Of Virginia Police Vehicles To Get Life-Saving Devices In Time For Stress-Filled ‘Move-In Day’ Aug. 20

August 19, 2005 -- Just in time for the University of Virginia’s annual “move-in day” this Saturday, the University Police Department is installing 13 life-saving automated external defibrillators in its fleet of patrol cars.

The devices, which deliver an electrical shock to a malfunctioning heart in the event of a cardiac arrest, are scheduled to be in place by 7 a.m. on Saturday. That’s when thousands of students and their parents will begin descending upon the Grounds to haul tons of personal belongings through the August heat and into University housing.

Over the past two years, University police and security officers have received American Heart Association-approved training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and the use of the automated external defibrillators, which were purchased for $21,759, said University Police spokeswoman Sgt. Melissa Fielding. The project has been overseen by Dr. William J. Brady Jr., vice-chairman of the Department of Emergency Medicine at the U.Va. Medical Center, and paramedic Kostas Alibertis, an instructor in resuscitation at U.Va.’s Life Support Center.

In the event of a cardiac arrest, one key to a positive outcome is the application of a defibrillator within a short time of onset, Brady said. “If you get out beyond eight to 10 minutes, the chances of a good outcome are pretty negligible,” he said.

At least two studies have shown that the prompt use of a portable automated external defibrillator, like the model the police will carry, can double the chances of a heart attack patient’s survival to the point of being discharged from the hospital, Brady said.

“An AED doesn’t replace an emergency medical technician, but it provides a much earlier way to give effective treatment,” he said.

The University Police patrol a relatively small territory and thus are able to respond quickly to calls for aid — often well before an ambulance arrives, Fielding said. “The most it should ever take us is no more than six minutes, and it’s typically much shorter than that,” she said.

AEDs have increasingly been placed in police cars across the country, Fielding said. Locally, many Albemarle County policeand sheriff’s departmentvehicles carry them.

Contact: Dan Heuchert, (434) 924-7676

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Contact the Office of University Relations at (434) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (434) 924-7550.

SOURCE: U.Va. News Services

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