Police officers at Allan Hancock College now possess another important tool to protect people on campus and potentially save lives. The Allan Hancock Police College Department has equipped its entire fleet of eight patrol cars with automated external defibrillator devices (AEDs).

“Our charge is to maintain a safe environment for the students, staff and visitors,” said Allan Hancock College Chief of Police Wes Maroney. “The AED is one more item district police can use to provide peace of mind that we take our responsibility very seriously.”

AEDs deliver an electric charge to the heart of a victim of sudden cardiac arrest to restore the normal rhythm of the heart. According to the American Red Cross, sudden cardiac arrest is one of the leading causes of unexpected deaths and affects more than 350,000 people in the United States annually.  Sudden cardiac arrest is the disruption of the heart’s function, causing a lack of blood flow to vital organs and the body.

Time is of the essence during a cardiac event. The survival rate can drop by 10 percent for every minute that passes without treatment according to the American Red Cross. Studies show four out of 10 victims survive if someone gives CPR or uses an AED before emergency medical crews arrive.

While his department has not yet encountered an incident requiring an AED, Maroney said his officers are ready if needed.

“Our officers will be the first people to respond on the Lompoc or Santa Maria campuses. They’ll be able to provide initial assessment and take action while the paramedics and fire trucks are on their way,” added Maroney.

Last week, an Arizona State University police officer used the AED from his patrol car to revive a student who collapsed on campus. The officer was the first emergency responder to arrive on scene and he was credited for saving the student’s life.

“When seconds and minutes count, people should know Hancock police will always be a few precious seconds away,” said Maroney.

The Allan Hancock College Police Department received five AEDs from the Santa Barbara County Superintendent of Schools Safety Committee and two from the Allan Hancock College Foundation.

Every Hancock officer has been trained how to use an AED as part of state-mandated training.