Why does LEA-D intervention seem to work in some systems but not others? Panelists agreed that some factors that delay rapid access to treatment, such as long travel distances in rural areas, may represent insurmountable barriers. Other factors, however, may be addressed more readily. These include: absence of a medical response culture, discomfort with the role of medical intervention, insecurity with the use of medical devices, a lack of proactive medical direction, infrequent refresher training, and dependence on EMS intervention. Panelists agreed that successful LEA-D programs possess ten key attributes (Table 6). In the end, the goal remains "early" defibrillation, not "police" defibrillation. It does not matter whether the rescuer wears a blue uniform - or any uniform, for that matter - so long as the defibrillator reaches the victim quickly. If LEA personnel routinely arrive at medical emergencies after other emergency responders or after 8 minutes have elapsed from the time of collapse, an LEA-D program will be unlikely to provide added value. Similarly, if police frequently arrive first, but the department is unwilling or unable to cultivate the attributes of successful LEA-D programs, efforts to improve survival may not be realized. In most communities, however, LEA-D programs have tremendous lifesaving potential and are well worth the investment of time and resources.Law enforcement agencies considering adoption of AED programs should review the frequency with which police arrive first at medical emergencies and LEA response intervals to determine whether AED programs might help improve survival in their communities. It is time for law enforcement agency defibrillation to become the rule, not the exception.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Emergency Medicine