Sheriff's personnel receive training on new machines

Mauricio Julian Cuellar Jr., Orange Grove Journal

Joey Campos' grandfather died at an early age after a heart attack.

Because of medical advances, Campos said his grandfather would have survived if the same event happened today, and he should know.

As a paramedic with Guardian EMS, it is his duty to perform life-saving procedures on a daily basis.

During an Automated External Defibrillation (AED) Course he assisted with at the Sheriff's Department Training room on Wednesday, Campos passed on some of that life-saving knowledge to the deputes and correctional officers in the department, so that perhaps someday they might save the life of someone by using the county's new portable AEDs.

Manufactured by Cardiac Science, these AEDs cost $3,950 each, which is covered by grant funding. One portable device will be stationed at the JWC Jail, the other at the courthouse.

"Today's session was good, and Joey offered to help us get everything on the program. It's really a benefit to the community to have these devices available. It's a good program," JWC Health and Safety officer Israel Lopez said, who along with Sgt. Rey Aguilar, led the course. "With all the new mandates, eventually all public buildings will have to have one. JWC is already ahead of the program, and with the training we're receiving, we'll be able to help both courthouse personnel and the public. Hopefully we'll never have to use them."

Although the county only has two devices, Lopez is looking for more grants to cover the costs of more defibrillators. It is the county's goal to eventually have at least two in the courthouse, two in the county jail and one in each of the county annexes.

For now, county officials are just pushing to get as many people certified as possible on the devices and with cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). The courthouse security deputy, along with the district court bailiff, are going through certification this week, along with all correctional officers and sheriff's deputies.

The goal is to have several county employees certified from every department, so that in the event of a heart attack in any office, the staff will be ready to react appropriately.

"These are lifesavers. Want to get as many people certified on the AED as we can, and the CPR training you can take with you and use wherever you are," Lopez said.

Campos told the class Wednesday morning that by utilizing a two-man team, you can effectively treat a cardiac emergency.

"With one person doing continuous CPR, with 30 compressions for every two breaths, and one operating the AED, it can be a very effective way to handle an emergency," Campos said. "Those of you who have done CPR before, or trained before, know how tiring the compressions can be. Two minutes worth feels like an eternity. That's why we want everyone trained on this, so that way, during an emergency, there will be people there ready to take over when someone gets tired. They can jump right in."

Before anything else, the patient should be checked for response and to see if they are breathing or if their heart is beating. CPR should be started immediately, if necessary, officials said.

The AED, when used, analyzes the patient to see if they are experiencing a cardiac arrest. The machine has two pads, which are placed at the apex and sternum of the individual.

The device gives audio cues, as it analyzes the patient, and gives a verbal warning to back away from the patient if a shock must be administered. During the two-minute intervals between analysis, the first responder should continue CPR, until help can arrive on scene. The surface for the AED pads must be dry and smooth, for good conduction to occur.

"We want to get all of you knowledgeable about this, so that everyone can do it. That's our goal, to give the heart attack victim a chance," Campos said.

The department will continue to train on the AED, with CPR classes taking place next week for all department personnel.