MARYVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – A specialized team of deputies with the Blount County Sheriff’s Office received a gift on Monday as two AEDs were donated.
Rhonda Harrill donated two AEDs, or Automated External Defibrillators, to the Blount County Sheriff’s Office. These lifesaving devices will be going inside patrol cars.
Harrill has been working hard getting AEDs inside schools and community centers after her son, Tanner, collapsed and died while playing basketball 10-years ago.
This donation will be going to help BCSO’s EMR or Emergency Medical Response team. Officers part of the program carry added first aid tools in case they get to an emergency first.
In 2019, EMR deputies responded to 1,500 calls and used their AEDs more than 20 times to save lives.
Officer Lucy Chantler has been part of the EMR team for more than a year and can remember the lives she’s already touched.
“One that stands out is last month, I was on a back road and came across a woman who was sitting on her steps and she just didn’t, she didn’t look right and she had taken a fall. I was able to help her bandage herself up and call in an ambulance and make sure that she got to the hospital okay,” she said.
Officer Chantler is one of 38 deputies with BCSO who are on the EMR team.
“Back in 2017, the Sheriff and the Mayor had a vision to develop a program that would allow our deputies to be trained, specialized to respond to medical calls,” said Deputy Chief Jarrod Millsaps.
The EMR team receives nationally certified advanced first aid training.
“We carry splints, masks for CPR, we carry all kinds of bandages. We have air way support, we even have oxygen if someone needs oxygen,” said Officer Chantler.
Among those lifesaving tools, an AED.
“When we arrive on scene and we’re not sure if CPR is going to be effective enough for somebody, we can use this as a way of walking us through steps, whether we need to continue CPR or this device apply shocks to them,” said Officer Chantler.
These specialized officers are a resource just in case they get to an emergency first.
“Blount County is made up of 584-square miles, so our jurisdictional boundaries are very large. Having these deputies who are patrolling certain areas, answering these types of calls can shave off seconds, minutes of getting some lifesaving equipment to that person,” explained Deputy Chief Millsaps.
For Officer Chantler, it’s a gift she can give to her neighbors.
“Just knowing that you can do something for somebody and provide a little bit of extra care to them before an ambulance gets there, a lot of times family members are upset and you can ease their minds too and let them know that their family member will be taken care of,” she said.
BCSO has a goal of training and certifying 10 officers every year. Blount County leaders say this program is the only one like it in the State of Tennessee.
Blount County Mayor Ed Mitchell sharing that the safety and well-being of everyone in the county is of the utmost importance, “With the help of Sheriff Berrong, I think we have put into place a new way of ensuring we are doing what both of us believe is truly in the very best interest of our county.”
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