RUSSELL COUNTY, Va. (WJHL) — Russell County Sheriff’s Office (RCSO) deputies will now carry AEDs and first aid bags in their vehicles, Sheriff William Watson announced on Monday.

RCSO deputies are undergoing training to use the new equipment to serve the community, Watson said in a press release.

“All School Resource Deputies will have AEDs to use at school-related athletic events,” Watson said. “Sudden cardiac arrest is a leading cause of death among student-athletes. With this equipment, School Resource Deputies will be able to respond to those emergencies until EMS units can arrive.”

The AEDs were provided by a grant that was secured from the Wellspring Foundation, the Russell County Hospital Foundation and Russell County Hospital/Ballad Health, Watson said. The first aid bags were purchased through grant funding from the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Watson thanked Greta Morrison with Ballad Health, Russell County Hospital Foundation Board, Maxie Skeen with Cleveland Lifesaving Crew and Sharon Street for their help in the project.

“We are guardians of the public and he will keep striving to enable the deputies to have all equipment needed to serve the citizens,” Watson said in the release.