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$3.6 Million Helmsley Grant to Fund Life-Saving New Technology for South Dakota First Responders

SIOUX FALLS and RAPID CITY, S.D. — In an ongoing effort to improve the cardiac system of care in the Upper Midwest, The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust today announced that it has awarded a grant of $3.6 million to equip every law enforcement agency as well as South Dakota State Park facilities with the next generation of Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs). The grant, facilitated through the South Dakota Department of Health, will fund 1,200 devices to be placed in law enforcement vehicles, with conservation officers, and at critical state park locations. The project includes training for law enforcement and Game, Fish, and Parks personnel. The announcement coincides with National Rural Health Day in America.

“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.”

Studies conducted by the American Heart Association demonstrate a dramatically higher survival rate for cardiac patients shocked by law enforcement, who are generally first on the scene, especially in rural areas. The new LIFEPACK® CR2 defibrillators, designed by the Stryker Corporation, were selected to help rescuers provide the fastest first shock when defibrillation is needed. The LIFEPAK CR2 features industry-leading cprINSIGHT™ analysis technology that reduces pauses during CPR, allowing for improved blood circulation and better odds of survival. Using Wi-Fi connectivity, 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.

“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..

About the Helmsley Charitable Trust

The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust aspires to improve lives by supporting exceptional efforts in the U.S. and around the world in health and select place-based initiatives. Since beginning active grantmaking in 2008, Helmsley has committed more than $2.6 billion for a wide range of charitable purposes. Helmsley’s Rural Healthcare Program funds innovative 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. To date, this program has awarded more than $416 million to organizations and initiatives in the upper Midwest states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, Minnesota, Iowa, and Montana.  For more information, visit www.helmsleytrust.org


Nyla Griffith, 605-920-0626