Performance of police first responders in utilizing automated external defibrillation on victims of sudden cardiac arrest

ArticleinPrehospital Emergency Care 2(2):101-7 · January 1998with3 Reads
Impact Factor: 1.76 · DOI: 10.1080/10903129808958851 · Source: PubMed


    Rates of resuscitation from cardiac arrest are directly tied to time to defibrillation. To maximize results, the first arriving care provider should be equipped and trained to defibrillate. This would include police in those systems where they serve this function; to date, no training program has been examined for effectiveness in this group. The purpose of this study was to evaluate a training program designed to train police first responders in the use of an automated external defibrillator (AED).
    One hundred seventy police officers previously trained to the level of first responders underwent a four-hour course to teach incorporation of the AED in their practice. The evaluation of police performance was assessed by written tests prior to, immediately after, and six months post initial training. Actual field use was evaluated by using separate data collection forms filled out at the time of the resuscitation by both police and EMS providers. Each trip sheet was also reviewed. Cassette tapes from the AED were reviewed for continuous ECG tracings and audio recordings to validate and confirm the previous data.
    One hundred twenty-eight police cases were reviewed. The officers performed with few errors in AED operation, with the only problem areas being incorrect airway management and delay in performance of CPR to use the AED to reanalyze a nonshockable rhythm. These results were compared with those of the only two other studies examining the performance of first responders, which were EMTs and firefighters. The police results compared favorably with, and in some instances exceeded, those results.
    Police first responders trained in the use of AEDs performed at a level equivalent or superior to that in other reported studies. Future training strategies should stress proper integration of airway and CPR skills.