South Dakota distributes $200,000 in defibrillators to rural first responders

South Dakota distributes $200,000 in defibrillators to rural first responders The state is distributing more than 100 automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) to law enforcement and other first responders across the state.

The Clay County Sheriff's office is a recipient of an AED.

"We know that using an AED within the first few minutes of sudden cardiac arrest increases the survival rate to 30 percent or higher. That's why it's so important to get as many AEDs out there as we can and train people to use them," Gov. Mike Rounds said.

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

Eligible counties were determined by criteria including cardiac arrests per year, AEDs already available, and health care facilities in the area. The state's Office of Emergency Medical Services worked with individual counties to determine appropriate placement of the AEDs. Some are being placed in law enforcement vehicles, typically the first responders in rural areas, while others are being placed with other first responder agencies such as fire and rescue squads.

Counties are receiving their AEDs at a series of eight training and distribution sessions in Yankton, Pierre, Madison, Rapid City, Aberdeen, Watertown, Winner and Mobridge.

Remaining distributions will also take place in Rapid City, Aberdeen, Watertown, Winner, and Mobridge.

The AEDs were 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. Questions about the AED distribution program can be directed to the Office of Emergency Medical Services, Department of Public Safety at 605-773-4031.

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