Governor announces $200,000 in defibrillators to rural first responders

Governor announces $200,000 in defibrillators to rural first responders South Dakota will buy more than 100 automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) for law enforcement and other first responders across the state, Gov. Bill Janklow said.

"We're trying to expand AED coverage statewide by getting this lifesaving equipment into the hands of those like local law enforcement who are typically the first on the scene," the

governor said. "We know that survival rates for sudden cardiac arrest can go up to 30 percent or higher when an AED is used within the first few minutes. It only makes sense to get

as many of these AEDs out there as we can."

The AEDs will be purchased with a $229,624 federal grant from the Rural Access to Emergency Medical Devices Grant Program in the Health Resources and Services Administration. The focus of the competitive grant program is increasing rural access to AEDs and other emergency medical equipment.

Ambulance services in South Dakota are already required to have defibrillators in place and previous state programs have placed the equipment in large public facilities like airports, malls, civic centers and arenas.

Eligible counties/census tracts will be determined by such criteria as cardiac arrests per year, the number of AEDs currently available, and the number and location of health care facilities in the area. Based on those criteria, the Department of Health will determine the number of AEDs a county will receive. The department will then work with the county to decide where the AEDs should be placed.

The majority will likely be placed in law enforcement vehicles since they are typically the first responder to an incident in rural areas. Depending upon local needs, AEDs might also be placed in public access sites such as schools or with other first responder agencies such as fire/rescue squads.

"County commissions were instrumental in helping us get these grant funds," the governor said. "We're pleased that we can provide these AEDs to help them improve access to emergency medical services in their own areas."

Questions about AED distribution program can be directed to the Office of Emergency Medical Services at 1-800-738-2301.

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