Polk County Sheriff's Office Department of Detention members are being trained to recognize a cardiac emergency and how to use automated external defibrillators (AED) now located at several Department of Detention facilities: the Juvenile Boot Camp, Central Booking, Central County Jail, and South County Jail .
Every year approx 220,000 people suffer cardiac arrest - a condition in which abnormal heart rhythms called arrhythmias cause the heart's electrical impulses to suddenly become chaotic. When this occurs, the heart stops abruptly, the victim collapses, and quickly loses consciousness. Death usually follows unless a normal heart rhythm is restored within a few minutes. Defibrillation delivers an electrical shock to the heart to restore the heart to a normal rhythm. For every minute defibrillation is delayed, the victim's chances of survival go down 7-10 percent.
The defibrillators are safe and easy to use, making it possible for non-medical Department of Detention members to be trained to provide rapid defibrillation. More facilities are taking this step now that legislation has been passed in Florida, providing limited liability for non-medical AED users. It is estimated that establishing these defibrillation programs in places such as high-security companies, high rise buildings, gated communities, sprawling manufacturing plants and remote sites, could help save as many as 40,000 lives per year.
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