Sheriff implements EMT training for deputies

Published 2:36 pm Thursday, August 24, 2023

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Lowndes County Sheriff Chris West is in the process of implementing a training program for deputies which will allow officers to become certified Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) and paramedics. 

West said that due to a continuing trend of prolonged wait times for Emergency Medical Services (EMS) to respond to the scene of an emergency, individuals in medical distress are often left at a severe disadvantage. 

West proposed this EMT training project in hopes that his deputies can aid in stabilizing individuals until EMS arrives.

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“I cannot tell you the count on how many times myself or my staff have been on a scene for 45 minutes to an hour before any emergency services arrive,” West said. “We need to be able to stabilize people while we wait for them to get there.”

This training will be completed in two phases through a partnership with Cardiac Solutions, a Birmingham based company who will provide deputies with automated external defibrillators (AEDs) as well as training on how to use them. 

During the first phase of training deputies will attend classes to receive EMT certification, providing them with the knowledge they need in order to provide rapid response medical care until EMS arrives.

The second phase will consist of training on the use and maintenance of LifePak defibrillators provided to the department by Cardiac Solutions. After being trained on how to use these automated external defibrillators, deputies will be eligible to become certified as paramedics.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 356,000 people experience out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in the United States each year, with an estimated 70%-90% of those individuals passing away before reaching the hospital. The CDC recommends early intervention by cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and defibrillation to drastically raise survival rates.

Jon Seale, founder of Cardiac Solutions, acknowledged the imperative need for faster medical response in Lowndes County and pledged to contribute toward the financial costs of the training.

“My goal is to make Lowndes County the safest county in the State of Alabama,” Seale said. “We hear the lack of response time, ambulances, paramedics and EMTs. I’d like to propose that Cardiac Solutions works with the county as well as creating a grant so that we can get some of your employees trained. I don’t know the full cost of that training, but I would like to raise my hand to help absorb some of that cost.”

According to West, two of his deputies have already committed to the training and will begin the EMT certification process soon.