University News

DPS acquires two portable defibrillators

Contributing Writer
Thursday, October 11, 2012


The Department of Public Safety purchased two automated external defibrillators to dispatch in their police cruisers two months ago as part of an ongoing initiative to prepare officers for a broad range of emergencies. 

 The move was not intended to take the place of the University’s Emergency Medical Services, said Paul Shanley, deputy chief of police for DPS. The department’s goal is to work with EMS to provide the best coverage and response possible to medical aid calls. 

Both of the defibrillators are deployed daily during two shifts in cruisers on the north and south side of campus. 

Because DPS officers tend to arrive at the scene of medical emergencies before EMS due to their proximity, it made sense to equip DPS cruisers with defibrillators, Shanley said. DPS officers have been trained in CPR and defibrillator use and would be able to administer emergency resuscitation as needed, he said. In such emergencies, the few seconds or minutes between the arrival of DPS and EMS officers can be crucial, he added.

Before the purchase of the defibrillators, officers would perform CPR if needed until EMS arrived. There have been cases in the past when an officer has started chest compressions, Shanley said, adding that in one situation a few years ago, the responding officer was able to save the life of someone who had collapsed.

The new defibrillators have not yet been used. 

The University has approximately 24 defibrillators scattered through campus, in classroom buildings and athletic complexes. EMS provides DPS officers with up-to-date maps of all the machines’ locations in case they are required in an emergency situation, Shanley said. 

As part of the ongoing initiative, the first aid kits in DPS police cars have been upgraded to include more extensive supplies, Shanley said.