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Burlington police getting new medical equipment for emergency calls

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BURLINGTON, N.C. -- Starting next week, Burlington police will be equipped with life-saving gear to help with heart attacks, drug overdoses and other medical emergencies.

Automatic external defibrillators, known as AEDs, will be placed in squad cars.

Assistant Chief Eric Kerns says the goal is to give officers an extra tool to start first aid if they get to a scene before firefighters or EMS.

“Having that equipment in their vehicle could potentially save a life versus waiting for other people and equipment to arrive on scene,” Kerns said.

Kerns says eleven AEDs are being donated by Cone Health. One was donated last week by Fire House Subs.

The department bought eight of the machines at $1,000 each.

“We want to be able to save and help our citizens as quickly as we possibly can,” Kerns said.

Along with AEDs, officers will get other life-saving medical gear like Narcan which reverses the effects of an overdose.

Last year, officers were given tourniquets to help stop bleeding for shooting or stabbing victims.

Alamance County EMS Director Ray Vipperman says anything officers can do to save time during an emergency helps.

“When somebody’s potentially not breathing or their heart’s not beating, if law enforcement can get there even two or three minutes before we can and administer those therapies, then it’s very true seconds count,” Vipperman said.