At the Jan. 24 Covington City Council meeting, Chief of Police Andrew McCurdy was recognized for his response to a medical emergency in December.
McCurdy was off duty and driving home the night of Dec. 14. He was on his way back from coaching the Badges and Barbells Weightlifting Club at Cedar Heights Middle School, he said. He was driving his unmarked police car. As he was passing the entrance to Timberline, a dispatch call cited a medical emergency nearby. A 15-year-old boy reported his father had collapsed, McCurdy said.
McCurdy happened to be only a few blocks away so he responded. He found the 15-year-old boy’s dad lying on the floor. He did not appear to have a pulse and he was not breathing. The son was still on the phone with 911 when McCurdy arrived. The chief said he had used his AED (automated external defibrillator) on the father, performing five cycles of shocks and CPR when Regional Fire Authority emergency medical technicians and firefighters arrived and took over for the chief. The EMTs used their AED for at least one more cycle. The EMTs worked on the man for an extended period of time before he was stabilized enough to transport to a hospital. McCurdy was later informed the man survived and was able to return home on Christmas Day.
The reason McCurdy was able to help save the man’s life was because of the AED and training. Over the last decade, the King County Sheriff’s Office has changed its approach to AEDs. The office now provides patrol deputies with more training and equipment so they can help during medical calls, McCurdy said.
“Traditionally, the fire department has been the primary responder for emergency medical calls, since they have more advanced medical training than the average police office,” McCurdy said. “They have access to more medical equipment in their fire rigs than police officers do in the patrols cars.”
Patrol deputies are usually out patrolling in the community and they often arrive at scenes first. They are also trained and able to enter dangerous scenes to give aid earlier when the scene may not be safe for unarmed firefighters to enter.
Deputies are starting to be equipped with AEDs and they receive training on how and when to use them. Police officers with an AED available are dispatched when a cardiac arrest is reported since they potentially can get there faster, McCurdy said.
The Covington Police Department currently has four AEDs in the field. They were able to add two in 2016 through the King County Public Health Emergency Medial Services Division Project, RAMPART (Regional Approach to Municipal Public Registry and Training). The project’s goal is to increase access to AEDs and public awareness. Because of it, King County has the highest survival rate of witnessed sudden cardiac arrest in the world.
Project RAMPART funds pay-related expenses for placing AEDs, providing CPR training for municipal staff and promotes AED registry in the communities, Project RAMPART Coordinator Laura Miccile said. And the project encourages those with AEDs in their community to register them in the county AED registry.
The reason they want people to register their AED devices is the information can be passed on to dispatch centers, where it is entered into the system. When a 911 call is made where an AED is needed, it can easily be located for use.
“Getting the message out about the importance of registering AEDs is really important in increasing their accessibility when they are needed,” Miccile said.
Because of all of the extra training and equipment police officers are receiving, and the AEDs, they are able to save more lives, like the man on Dec. 14. For more about the RAMPART project, visit www.kingcounty.gov/aed.