Benzie County Sheriff’s Department Gets Life-Saving AEDs for Deputies

A local law enforcement agency has new equipment that could help them save lives.

The Benzie County Sheriff’s Office received a $24,000 grant from the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians to get new automatic external defibrillators, or AEDs.

Last summer, the Frankfort City Police chief saved two lives with a defibrillator.

That convinced the Benzie County sheriff that his office needed them, too.

“A lot of times we’re first on scene. And it could be called in as somebody having indigestion or anything. It could be a domestic, it could be any call that you can think of,” said Benzie County Sheriff Ted Schendel.

Prepared for anything –that’s the goal of Benzie County Sheriff Ted Schendel and his department.

Now there’s one more situation they’re always ready for.

“If we’re on scene and somebody has a heart attack, then we’re prepared. That’s what we’re here for and that’s why we do it in the first place.”

His department now has 17 AEDs –a crucial lifesaving tool.

“CPR is the most important and electrical therapy is the second most important. So having an AED in combination with CPR gives the best chance of survival,” said Benzie County EMS Director Craig Johnson.

EMS trains the deputies on CPR regularly.

Now they’re all trained to use the AEDs, and are carrying them in their patrol cars.

The devices help by giving step by step instructions to users.

Johnson says there’s only a two percent survival rate for people who have a heart attack in rural communities.

They’ve brought that up to eight percent in Benzie County so far – a number they’re hoping to continue improving now that the sheriff’s department has AEDs.

“They happen to be close by and happen to hear a medical go out that somebody’s unresponsive and not breathing, they can stop put it on and start CPR right away before the ambulance would be able to get there,” Schendel said.

The Benzie County EMS is hosting free monthly community CPR classes. Call them at 231-325-0035 for schedule information.