Jeff Humphrey, Media Manager, 509.622.5868
Thursday, April 1, 2021 at 2:09 p.m.
Spokane police are often the first to arrive on the scene of a life threatening emergency.
That’s why the department regularly trains up its officers with basic medical skills so they can help people when every second counts.
“It’s the nature of our business. We are out there and available and typically have very quick response times, especially to a traumatic incident,” said Officer Paul Buckmann of the Spokane Police Department.
Police are prepared to offer a lot more than just a speedy response.
The officer’s uniforms are now loaded down with simple, life-saving equipment borrowed from the battlefield.
“So we really do try to apply that. We’re obviously not in a war zone but we do come across gunshot wounds, stab wounds,very traumatic injuries where the same techniques work,” Buckmann explained.
During recent in-service training, Buckmann showed his class of officers how to slow bleeding and prevent patients with chest wounds from suffering a collapsed lung.
“Behind the tourniquet, probably the biggest next thing we typically use is the chest seal.This one comes with two, so you obviously have entry and exit wound capabilities to treat,” Buckmann said as he held up the adhesive seals.
Some officers are also packing around AED’s in their patrol cars to help patients experiencing cardiac arrest.
During 2020, officers administered Narcan to 140 people who appeared to be overdosing on opioids like heroin. Narcan is a medication that can reverse the effects of an overdose.
Together, the training and equipment are intended to make it easier for police to keep people alive until paramedics can take over.
“The officers are eager to use this stuff. They have the equipment, they have the training now, and they can easily apply it. It’s not advanced skills, but it has a huge impact on the patient’s outcome,” emphasized Buckmann who is an EMT and SWAT Team Member.
Buckmann feels not only are police saving lives, but with quick intervention, boosting the chances of a person’s complete recovery.