Reading Hospital and Friends of Reading Hospital, a nonprofit volunteer organization in Pennsylvania, recently announced that they will outfit every police cruiser in Berks County with lifesaving AEDs in an effort to save lives and improve response times to incidences of sudden cardiac arrest.

The initiative will outfit the local community with over 230 AEDs and the two organizations will cover the $300,000 cost. The program will mark the first time state police in Pennsylvania patrolling a specific area will have AEDs in all of their cruisers.

The story of James Elmore Sr., of a Belleville, Illinois, appears to have struck a chord with Reading Hospital and Friends of Reading Hospital. Mr. James Elmore suffered cardiac arrest and died as a result, a life that many say could have been saved with properly maintained AEDs by the Belleville police force.

Whereas police arrived within minutes of Elmore Sr.'s collapse from sudden cardiac arrest, the AEDs meant for their patrol cars were in storage and out of order. It took an ambulance fourteen minutes to arrive, which, for instances of sudden cardiac arrest, is simply too late (survival rates drop 10% for every passing minute).

In a shocking discovery by reporter Jason Brudereck, local police departments said they do have AEDs "but the batteries are dead."

Through the kind and progressive initiative brought forward by Reading Hospital and Friends of Reading Hospital, hopefully many more lives are saved and the AEDs of the Berks County will receive the proper maintenance and care that they require.

The story brings up an excellent point on the importance of proper AED management and maintenance. Having an AED is obviously a great and honorable step, yet with each and every AED, proper upkeep and maintenance is a must in order to ensure that you're acting within your local statutes and that your AED is ready for times of need.

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To read the full story on the Reading Hospital and Friends of Reading Hospital donation, please visit Jason Brudereck's story in the Reading Eagle here.