I'm sure you've seen squad cars idling without anyone inside them at restaurants, gas stations or other places around town and wondered why. They're not left on to improve response times. It's not to leave the AC cranked on hot summer days or the heat blasting during the cold winter months. The real reason is to ensure the effectiveness of life saving medicine and equipment found in each car.

Captain John Sherwin from the RPD explains: "The main reason is that our squad cars contain sensitive equipment and medicine, specifically defibrillators and Narcan (used for Opioid overdoses). If either gets hot or cold, it can be a real issue."

Officers can reverse the effects of opioid abuse by spraying Narcan in the user's nose. It's a serious issue in the United States. The Minnesota Department of Health's most recent data shows that 395 Minnesotans died because of an opioid overdoses in 2016. The department says opioid overdoses have gone up 600% since 2000.

Defibrillators, also known as AEDs, are small devices that deliver an electric shock through the chest to the heart to restore normal rhythm following cardiac arrest. Manufacturers recommend a temperature range that is safe for storing defibrillators in order to maximize the life of the unit and it's effectiveness. Aed.com says when units are exposed to extreme high temperatures, "the water-based gel on the pads may not perform fully due to excessive evaporation, causing pads to be unable to stick to a patient’s chest accurately to conduct the full electrical shock to the heart."

Sherwin says, "The extra gas is worth ensuring we have functioning equipment and medicine to save a life when necessary."


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