SHARON, Pa. (WKBN) – When someone suffers from cardiac arrest, the faster a portable defibrillator is used, the better the chance that person has of surviving. That’s why doctors at Sharon Regional Health System are arming those at the front lines of emergencies with the life-saving tool.
The hospital distributed automated external defibrillators (AED) to officers from seven police departments on Wednesday.
Sharon Police Chief Gerald Smith said he knows firsthand how the AEDs can come in handy.
“Two years ago at our F.O.P. Christmas party, the man playing Santa Claus for the kids suffered a heart attack in front of us,” he said.
Lucky for Santa, a cruiser there had a portable AED, allowing the officers to shock Mr. Claus, saving his life.
“Watching the tool in use basically inspired me to make them available to every car that’s on the road,” he said.
Thanks to a donation from the medical staff at Sharon Regional, it’s now a reality.
“As a medical staff, this is a proud day for us from Sharon Regional Health System. We feel that we’re able to contribute to our communities, saving lives in our communities with assistance from our local police departments,” said Dr. Howard Slemons, president of medical staff.
In total, 20 defibrillators, 20 fast response kits and 40 smart pads were distributed. The items are worth more than $47,000.
Slemons said the donation is important because police officers are usually among the first to respond before the patients are taken to the emergency room. Those few minutes can make the difference between life or death.
“Rapid response and the use of AEDs have been medically proven to increase survival until a patient can get to the hospital,” he said.
In addition to the Sharon Police Department, other police departments that received defibrillators included the Hermitage, Farrell, Sharpsville, Brookfield and Hubbard City and Township police departments.