ALAMANCE COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — 1,600 state troopers patrol road in North Carolina, and now everyone one of them has an AED or Automated External Defibrillator.
Two NC State Troopers put their training to work when they found a man unresponsive in his vehicle.
“The adrenaline in the moment just takes over. You don’t really think about it,” Trooper John Eberle said.
Eberle and Trooper Caleb Kirby did not stop to think or hesitate to act when they saw 78-year-old Victor Pate looking lifeless in his truck on Interstate-40 near the Maple Avenue exit in Burlington on Feb. 3.
“He climbed into the backseat. I climbed into the front seat. We started getting him out,” Eberle said. “You stop thinking about what else is going on, and the training takes over, and you’re able to do what you need to do.”
Every two years, troopers get a CPR course and demonstrations on how to use an AED.
“It’s really easy to be told what to do, but getting that hands on training to know you’re doing it right to build confidence is big,” Eberle said.
Confidence they say they need as they respond to more medical emergencies along roads.
“I’ve had multiple scenario’s where I’ve pulled up on a collision, and the person may seem to be somewhat impaired, but they’re actually suffering from a diabetic episode or possible Alzheimers,” Kirby said.
A grant helped put the devices in troopers’ cars. It’s funding most of our local police departments and sheriff’s offices don’t have.
FOX8 checked in with law enforcement agencies across the Triad and learned only the Burlington Police Department and Rockingham County Sheriff’s Office have AEDs inside vehicles paid for with grant money.
The Guilford County Sheriff’s Office purchased two AEDs for each of the three districts they serve. Deputies take them out during each shift.
Until they can be part of every agency’s equipment, knowing life-saving procedures is key.
“The more people we can get out to at least understand what they’re doing with CPR, it’s going to be able to help save a lot of lives,” Eberle said.
A representative from the Red Cross tells FOX8 interest in CPR and AED devices has increased with many schools and athletic trainers adding them to be ready if a player or student falls into cardiac arrest.
The Red Cross does offer assistance for anyone looking to purchase an AED.