Cayman Heart Fund donates life-saving devices to police

From left, Acting Police Sergeant Brandaughn Phillips, CHF Director Katie O’Neill, CHF Founder and Chair Emeritus Suzy Soto, CHF Chairperson Dr. Bella Beraha, CHF Coordinator Allison Olarou, Deputy Commissioner Kurt Walton check out some of the donated equipment.

The Cayman Heart Fund has donated 22 battery packs for defibrillators and 20 CPR kits to the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service.

The RCIPS said the donation means that the life-saving devices can be used by front-line officers if emergencies arise.

The donation is the latest by the Cayman Heart Fund to the police service. Between 2012 and 2016, the charity gave 20 automated external defibrillators (AEDs) to the RCIPS. Those are in police stations across all three islands, as well as at the police detention centre, on board the RCIPS helicopters and Coast Guard vessels, and in certain police vehicles.

An AED is a portable, easy-to-use, electronic medical device that any bystander without prior medical knowledge can use when someone has a sudden cardiac arrest. While AEDs do not expire, their battery packs need replacing every three to four years to ensure they remain operational. The batteries of the RCIPS’ AEDs became due for replacement just as the Cayman Islands started to come out of the COVID-19 lockdown in July, the Cayman Heart Fund stated.

“Our aim was to better equip first responders with the tools to render critical first aid to a victim experiencing a cardiac condition. This is part of our ongoing commitment to supporting the Cayman Islands community’s access to lifesaving equipment,” said Suzy Soto, founder and chair emeritus of the Cayman Heart Fund, in a press release.

Dr. Bella Beraha, chairperson of the Cayman Heart Fund, added, “When a person suffers a cardiac arrest, unless they are treated within minutes, they usually die because blood is no longer being pumped to the brain and other parts of the body. Quickly shocking the heart with an AED can save a person’s life after their heart suddenly stops beating.”

Deputy Commissioner of Police Kurt Walton said in the release, “Having these AEDs available and easily accessible means that our officers have one more tool at their disposal in saving lives, and this donation allows us to ensure that they remain ready to be utilised.”

To increase the likelihood of surviving a cardiac event, a first responder must have the ability to use an AED right away, generally within the first three minutes. Police officers are frequently the first responders to such incidents, often before an ambulance arrives.

“The AEDs available from the Cayman Heart Fund are compact and lightweight and designed for simplicity, with a single on/off button and easy to understand visual and voice prompts that guide the rescuer through the entire resuscitation process, including CPR – a key link in the chain of survival,” Allison Olarou, Cayman Heart Fund coordinator, said. “Our aim is to have as many AEDs as possible in the community.”

AEDs can be purchased from the Cayman Heart Fund for homes or workplaces. For every nine AEDs that the Cayman Heart Fund sells, it donates the 10th one to somewhere in need.

Olarou noted that while AEDs are common in many businesses, schools and public venues, many gatherings and events on island take place without one nearby. “To help make this lifesaving technology more readily available, anyone can request an AED on a temporary basis, from the CHF free of charge through our AED Loan Programme,” she said.

For more information, contact the Cayman Heart Fund at 916-6324 or email [email protected].

Support local journalism. Subscribe to the all-access pass for the Cayman Compass.

Subscribe now