December 8, 2019

Lake County benefits from $3.6 million grant to state - Daily Leader Extra : Top Stories

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Lake County benefits from $3.6 million grant to state

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Posted: Monday, November 25, 2019 3:32 pm

The Lake County Sheriff's Office is the first agency in the county to receive state-of-the-art AEDs as a result of a grant to the state from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust.

On Thursday night, the same day the grant was announced, the Sheriff's Office made the announcement on Facebook, writing, "we now have AEDs in all the sheriff vehicles should they be needed." Previously, the department had two which were rotated among deputies on patrol.

The seven Automated External Defibrillators which the sheriff's office received are just the first that will be received in the county as part of the grant. The Madison Police Department will receive five early next year; Lake Herman State Park will receive three in the spring.

The $3.6 million grant is being managed by the state Department of Health and will fund 1,200 devices to be placed in law enforcement vehicles and state parks. In a press release, the Helmsley trust announced the grant is part of "an ongoing effort to improve the cardiac system of care in the Upper Midwest."

"This partnership with the Helmsley Charitable Trust will allow us to get lifesaving tools and training into the hands of state, tribal, county and municipal law enforcement agencies," Marty Link, director of EMS and Trauma with the DOH's Office of Rural Health, is quoted as saying. "With Helmsley's support, South Dakotans can be better prepared to respond to cardiac arrests and save lives."

To date, South Dakota has received $110 million from the Helmsley Charitable Trust as part of the Rural Healthcare Program. The program funds projects that use information technologies to connect rural patients to emergency medical care, bring the latest medical therapies to patients in remote areas, and provide state-of-the-art training for rural hospitals and EMS personnel.

Madison Police Chief Justin Meyer said his department has had AEDs in its vehicles for a number of years and believes they are a valuable tool.

"There have been a number of occasions when we've used them," he said. "I couldn't imagine us going without them."

In South Dakota, all certified law enforcement officers must be trained in CPR. Locally, law enforcement officers are often on the scene before an ambulance when 911 Communications is contacted about a medical emergency.

"Providing that lifesaving care when there's a cardiac event is so vitally crucial," Sheriff Tim Walburg said.

According to the Helmsley trust, studies conducted by the American Heart Association indicate a dramatically higher survival rate for cardiac patients shocked by law enforcement who are often first on the scene in rural areas. With this in mind, defibrillators were selected which will help rescuers provide the fastest first shock possible when defibrillation is needed.

"The machine senses whether it's an adult or child, so we don't have to change anything," Walburg said, describing one of the features.

Wi-Fi connectivity may also help improve outcomes. The press release states, "these self-monitoring devices can be configured to send near real-time event data via Wi-Fi, including a patient's heart rhythm and shocks delivered, to incoming emergency services or receiving hospitals, helping speed the transition to the next level of care."

District Park Manager John Bame said he has been trying to get more AEDs for Lake Herman State Park and Walker's Point Recreation Area for several years. Currently, one AED is located at each site. At Lake Herman, it's in the office; at Walker's Point, it's in the visitor's center.

"Sometimes the access is not as good as I thought it should be," Bame said.

When the new AEDs arrive in the spring, one will placed in the comfort station at Walker's Point and one will be placed in each of the comfort stations at Lake Herman. They will then be easily accessible if needed.

"We've never honestly used one, but if you need one, it's a lifesaver," Bame said.

Meyer said the Madison Police Department will be donating the four AEDs that are currently in patrol cars to local businesses when the new ones arrive. He encourages businesses that are interested in receiving one to contact him.

He also noted a secondary benefit to receiving the defibrillators as part of the grant.

"It's nice to get updated equipment with no cost to the taxpayer," Meyer said.

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