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Press Release

San Pablo Police Now Carry Life-Saving Defibrillators in All Patrol Cars

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

SAN PABLO, Calif. – Every police car in San Pablo now carries an automated external defibrillator (AED) – and officers have been trained to save lives with them – thanks to a new partnership between fire, police and health officials.

Contra Costa County Fire Protection District donated 22 AEDs to the police department in December, after receiving a federal grant to buy new devices for its engines. The defibrillators came straight off the fire engines and into San Pablo police cars, except for one kept in the department lobby.

After two months of training from Contra Costa Health Services’ Emergency Medical Services Division (EMS), officers are ready to add AEDs to their tools for protecting the public.

The AEDs will improve the chances of surviving sudden cardiac arrest for residents and visitors to San Pablo, as police officers are commonly the first responders to arrive at the scene of an emergency.

“All San Pablo police officers have been trained in the devices and can potentially begin delivering life-saving aid to cardiac victim’s minutes before a fire engine or ambulance arrives,” said Police Chief Walt Schuld.

San Pablo police officers have been trained to recognize cardiac emergencies and how to use the AEDs to shock the heart into a regular rhythm through a public-access AED program developed by Contra Costa EMS.

More than 350,000 people suffer cardiac arrests outside of a hospital setting every year in the United States, and less than 8 percent survive, according to the American Heart Association.

Defibrillation, which means delivering an electric shock to the heart, is the only known treatment to restore the heart to a normal rhythm after cardiac arrest, and it must be done quickly. Studies show that the victim’s chance of survival decreases 10 percent for every minute that defibrillation is delayed.

“Early access to the patient, defibrillation and CPR are critical to the chain of survival for cardiac arrest patients. The availability of these devices in police department vehicles will help improve the chance of surviving cardiac arrest in San Pablo,” said Brian Henricksen, prehospital care coordinator for Contra Costa EMS.

AEDs are safe and easy to use. With minimal training, anyone can use one effectively. Many businesses and public agencies throughout Contra Costa County have added public-access AEDs, and the American Heart Association recommends that any place that regularly hosts large groups consider establishing a defibrillation program.

To learn more about Contra Costa’s public-access defibrillation program, visit

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  • Karl Fischer, 925-313-6832