Introduction: Police officers often serve as first responders during out-of-hospital cardiac arrests (OHCA). Current knowledge and attitudes about resuscitation techniques among police officers are unknown. Hypothesis/problem This study evaluated knowledge and attitudes about cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and automated external defibrillators (AEDs) among urban police officers and quantified the effect of video self-instruction (VSI) on these outcomes.
Methods: Urban police officers were enrolled in this online, prospective, educational study conducted over one month. Demographics, prior CPR-AED experience, and baseline attitudes were queried. Subjects were randomized into two groups. Each group received a slightly different multiple-choice test of knowledge and crossed to the alternate test after the intervention, a 10-minute VSI on CPR and AEDs. Knowledge and attitudes were assessed immediately before and after the intervention. The primary attitude outcome was entering "very likely" (5-point Likert) to do chest compressions (CC) and use an AED on a stranger. The primary knowledge outcomes were identification of the correct rate of CC, depth of CC, and action in an OHCA scenario.
Results: A total of 1616 subjects responded with complete data (63.6% of all electronic entries). Randomization produced 819 participants in group 1, and 797 in group 2. Groups 1 and 2 did not differ significantly in any background variable. After the intervention, subjects "very likely" to do CC on a stranger increased by 17.2% (95% CI, 12.5%-21.8%) in group 1 and 21.2% (95% CI, 16.4%-25.9%) in group 2. Subjects "very likely" to use an AED on a stranger increased by 20.0% (95% CI, 15.3%-24.7%) in group 1 and 25.0% (95% CI, 20.2%-29.6%) in group 2. Knowledge of correct CC rate increased by 59.0% (95% CI, 55.0%-62.8%) in group 1 and 64.8% (95% CI, 60.8%-68.3%) in group 2. Knowledge of correct CC depth increased by 44.8% (95% CI, 40.5%-48.8%) in group 1 and 54.4% (95% CI, 50.3%-58.3%) in group 2. Knowledge of correct action in an OHCA scenario increased by 27.4% (95% CI, 23.4%-31.4%) in group 1 and 27.2% (95% CI, 23.3%-31.1%) in group 2.
Conclusion: Video self-instruction can significantly improve attitudes toward and knowledge of CPR and AEDs among police officers. Future studies can assess the impact of VSI on actual rates of CPR and AED use during real out-of-hospital cardiac arrests.