MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WKRN) — When a person’s heart suddenly stops beating, seconds can mean the difference between life and death.

Every year, thousands of people across the nation die from sudden cardiac arrest, but now officers in Murfreesboro are being equipped with a device that could help save lives locally.

The first set of cruisers were equipped with Automated External Defibrillators or AEDs in mid-April, according to a news release. An AED is a portable and easy-to-use medical device designed to help a person who may be experiencing sudden cardiac arrest.

Automated External Defibrillator (Courtesy: MPD)

With the press of a button, the machine analyzes the heart’s rhythm and, when necessary, it will deliver an electrical shock to help re-establish a healthily heart rhythm.

“I look back on my career and I wish that I had had these a long time ago, but just think of the lives that we’re going to save now,” said MPD Administrative Division Capt. Don Fanning.

A variety of first responders, including police, firefighters and paramedics, are typically dispatched to medical emergencies, but Fanning said the first person who arrives “is the best to start life-saving treatment since every second counts.”

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MPD Administrative Division Capt. Don Fanning talks about the police department’s new AEDs (Courtesy: MPD)

As a part of their in-service training, Murfreesboro officers undergo CPR and AED training every two years. According to the police department, the goal is to issue all uniformed officers an AED by the end of the year.

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“CPR buys time, and AEDs save lives,” Fannon said. “Officers now have the power to save lives right in their patrol car.”