Contributed.....Pictured from left to right: Vernon County Sheriff John B. Spears, Sergeant Charlie Jacobson, Deputy Greg Lawton, Chuck Stelzner, Kathie Stelzner, Kyle Bakkum (CEO-Vernon Memorial Healthcare), Jim Klock (Administrative Director of Emergency Services-Gundersen Lutheran), Tom Tornstrom (Executive Director-Tri-State Ambulance), Chief Deputy Sheriff Nathan Campbell.

contributed…..Vernon County Sheriff John B. Spears reports the recent purchase of twenty AED (automated external defibrillator) units for placement in all patrol vehicles.  The Sheriff’s Office was awarded a grant for approximately one-third of the total necessary funds, and the remaining match for the project came from the following generous donors:  Vernon Memorial Healthcare, Gundersen Lutheran Healthcare, Tri-State Ambulance Service, and Chuck and Kathie Stelzner.  The total project was approximately $31,000 and because of these donors and the grant, there is no cost to the citizens of Vernon County.  Early defibrillation is one of the vital links in the chain of survival during sudden cardiac arrest.

Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is a leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for an estimated 295,000 occurrences of out-of hospital SCA per year, with only an 8 percent survival rate. It can be successfully treated in many victims by a time electrical shock using an automated external defibrillator (AED), but time is critical. Using AEDs helps saves lives because they can help restore normal heart rhythm before emergency personnel arrive. Communities with comprehensive AED programs have achieved survival rates of 40 percent or higher.  (Source:  American Heart Association).

This project puts AEDs in the hands, and squad cars, of several trained Vernon County Sheriff personnel.  Squads are on patrol 24 hours a day, 7 days per week, and in the event of a call for a person who is in cardiac arrest, a squad may be dispatched to assist emergency medical services.  Every minute is crucial for response to sudden cardiac arrest, and our patrol units may sometimes get there first, and now have the capability of utilizing their training and working toward the goal of lowering death due to sudden cardiac arrest.  According to the American Heart Association, for every minute that passes without CPR and defibrillation, the chances of survival decreases by 7-10 percent.

The Vernon County Sheriff’s Office is committed to protecting our citizens and making our communities safer.  According to Sheriff Spears, “We believe that the placement of AEDs in our patrol cars is a great way for our officers to help improve the safety of the communities we serve.  We thank our generous donors for their support; without them, this initiative would not have been possible.”