BCSO and BCFD partners up for life-saving training

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – CPR is something so simple yet so effective at keeping someone alive, and as we’ve seen, AED’s can be crucial too.

Now, two first responder agencies have teamed up to streamline emergency care while they’re out on calls. 

You’ve seen CPR on TV, but do you actually know how important it is?

“To be completely transparent, the average response time is somewhere between 10 and 12 minutes. And in the cases of cardiac arrest, for every minute that we do not have CPR happening, it’s 10% less likely that that person is going to survive the event,” said Gabe Debaltz, a Bernalillo County Fire Department education coordinator. 

Bernalillo County Fire Department Paramedic, Gabe Debaltz, does. 

“Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department reached out, and they asked for CPR training. And at that point, we agreed that because we respond to the public together that we should probably start training together,” said Debaltz. 

It was the late Undersheriff Larry Koren who had the request. 

After the annual refresher course, the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s office noticed something.

“When the deputies were done with the training, they were asking for AEDs, and we didn’t have enough,” said Theresa Sabaugh, a BCSO advanced training sergeant. 

Automated External Defibrillators or AED’s are life-saving. 

“Because of the unorganized activity, electrically that’s going on within the heart during a cardiac arrest. Really, the most needed piece of equipment is the AED. So you need to shock that heart back into an organized rhythm that can pump blood and get blood realistically to your brain,” said Drew Harrell, an EMS physician at the University of New Mexico Hospital.  

Now, things are changing. 

“We spent almost half a million dollars I think on AEDs, and the deputies are excited about having them in their car,”  said Sabaugh. 

Every BCSO patrol car has an AED – around 200 total. 

“So to be able to have that tool and arrive on scene and be able to do something when the family member is going through a crisis, we don’t want to stand around and not do anything,” Sabaugh said. 

And KOB 4 got a crash course and some tips. 

Debaltz says don’t lock your arms, it’ll tire you out. Instead, press with your whole body and keep going – even if you hear a bone break. Even uncertified, first responders say something is better than nothing. 

This partnership not only came with new training, but also a more collaborative system to save a life. Both agencies use the same brand of AED for seamless intervention.

“The honest truth is, is the person that you’re most likely to do compressions on is somebody that you know, and perhaps love. And having that very easy to pick up skill set can actually be the deciding factor and a life and death situation,” said Debaltz.