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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Wilmington Police are taking an active approach to matters of the heart.

The department is equipping some patrol cars with a device that could save lives in an emergency by buying automated external defibrillators (AED)

“These are for what’s called a sudden-death event, where there’s no heartbeat, there’s no breathing and time is critical,” WPD spokesman Det. Kevin Smith said.

WPD recently purchased seven AEDs to put in cruisers driven by patrol lieutenants.

“It allows police officers as first responders to dramatically increase the survivability of the victim,” Smith said.

The lightweight, portable device evaluates the victim’s heart rhythm, and can deliver an electrical shock to the heart to restore blood flow. It’s as simple as taking the pads, placing them on the victim, and pressing start. Then all you have to do is follow directions.

And once it starts, it doesn’t stop, unlike a human performing CPR.

“People get tired,” WPD Patrol Division Lt. Renado Prince said. “An officer will get tired, and this machine is like an instructive tool for us, because it’s going to tell us what to do.”

Officers equipped with a defibrillator are required to go through special training, even though you don’t need training to use it.

The police department hopes to eventually have one of these devices in each patrol car, but funds are limited. WPD spent a little more than $9,000 of asset forfeiture funds to buy these defibrillators. Police say they are actively looking for additional funding from corporate partnerships and grants to buy more.

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