GRANGER - By the end of the month both the Granger Police Department and the Yakima County Sheriff's Office hope to have their eight new automatic external defibrillator units in their patrol cars and ready for duty.
Friday afternoon the two law enforcement offices came together to receive their new units, which were made possible through a Rural Access to Emergency Devices Grant. Granger Officer Tracy DeLozier put together the grant applications for both the Granger Police Department and the Yakima County Sheriff's Office.
According to Granger Police Chief Robert Perales, the units were needed in the area because local police are often the first people to arrive at a scene, meaning they sometimes have to deal with things like cardiac arrest.
"This is part of our effort to expand the services of the police department," Perales said.
He further noted that the Granger Fire Department is a volunteer fire department, which often times means that the local police are the first people to respond in case of an emergency.
"Hopefully we will now be able to provide the needed services," Perales said.
Sgt. Randy Briscoe with the Yakima County Sheriff's Office agreed with Perales, noting that many times law enforcement are the first people at the scene.
"Equipment like this is very, very handy," he said.
Barbara Clark with the South Central Office of Emergency Medical Services was on hand Friday to talk about the specifics of the grant. She said this year the Rural Access to Emergency Devices Grant will put 22 automatic external defibrillator units in the hands of law enforcement personnel working in rural areas. She explained that the rural areas were divided by zip code with the communities of Granger, Outlook, Sunnyside, Grandview, Toppenish and Wapato all being eligible for the grant.
Clark said the units that were issued to the two law enforcement departments are small and light, which means that an officer can easily grab a unit out of their car and run to the scene. She also demonstrated how easy the units are to use, pointing out that the machine actually talks the officer through the process of using it.
Clark said the grant includes more than just the defibrillator units, but training on the units as well.
"We're not just giving someone a unit and not educating them on how to use it," she said.
DeLozier said the units will require eight hours of training for each officer, training which he is hoping to start soon. DeLozier said he is hoping to have the units in Granger's four main patrol units by the end of the month.