RAPID CITY, SD — In recognition of National Rural Health Day in America, and in an effort to improve the cardiac system of care throughout the Upper Midwest, The Leona M. and Harry B.Helmsley Charitable Trust announced that it has awarded a grant of $3.6 million to equip every law enforcement agency in the state as well as South Dakota State Park facilities with state-of-the-art Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs).
The grant, facilitated through the South Dakota Department of Health, will fund 1,200 new AED devices to be placed in law enforcement vehicles, with conservation officers, and at critical state park locations. The project also includes training for law enforcement and Game, Fish, and Parks personnel.
“Getting these new AEDs into the hands of those most likely to arrive first on the scene of a cardiac arrest will help save lives,” said Walter Panzirer, a Helmsley Trustee. “The new technology will give first responders an edge. The South Dakota Department of Health is the first partner in what we hope will be an initiative to place these AEDs in all seven states in Helmsley’s funding area in the Upper Midwest.”
“This partnership with the Helmsley Charitable Trust will allow us to get life-saving tools and training into the hands of state, tribal, county and municipal law enforcement agencies,” said Marty Link, Director of EMS and Trauma, South Dakota Department of Health’s Office of Rural Health. “With Helmsley’s support, South Dakotans can be better prepared to respond to cardiac arrests and save lives.”
The new devices will be placed, and training conducted, by the end of December. AEDs previously used by some agencies will be relocated throughout communities increasing the number of AEDs accessible to the public..
To date, the Helmsley Charitable Trust has invested more than $416 million to improve access to quality healthcare in rural America, $110 million of that in South Dakota.