DES MOINES, Iowa (KCAU) — The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) was awarded a $10.1 million grant to equip law enforcement officials and first responders throughout Iowa with more than 4,000 automatic external defibrillators (AEDs).
According to a release, The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust awarded the Bureau of Emergency and Trauma Services (BETS) grant of over $10 million to improve cardiac arrest survival.
The three-year project aims to equip every law enforcement vehicle in the state with an AED and train law enforcement professionals to deliver the best care prior to the arrival of Emergency Medical Services (EMS). The project will also equip conservation officers and staff at state parks with AEDs.
“The people of Iowa are grateful for the partnership with the Helmsley Charitable Trust,” said Governor Kim Reynolds. “We know law enforcement officers are often the first on the scene of an accident or on calls to 911 for medical emergencies. This initiative to place defibrillators in every law enforcement vehicle in Iowa will save lives by providing emergency medical interventions in cases where a few seconds can make all the difference.”
Studies conducted by the American Heart Association demonstrate a dramatically higher survival rate for cardiac patients defibrillated by law enforcement, who are generally first on the scene, especially in rural areas.
“Seconds count during a cardiac arrest,” said Walter Panzirer, a Helmsley trustee. “We know in Iowa first responders often have great distances to cover. This funding will ensure those who get to the scene before EMS arrives give patients a better shot at survival.”
“On behalf of law enforcement officers and first responders across Iowa, I want to thank the Helmsley Charitable Trust for their commitment to saving lives,” said Iowa Department of Public Safety Commissioner Stephan Bayens. “When tragedy strikes, officers respond. This donation will put a defibrillator in up to 4,000 patrol cars and will equip officers with the ability to provide immediate and effective lifesaving efforts. There is no doubt lives will be saved and families transformed as a result of this generosity.”
“IDPH looks forward to working with the Helmsley Charitable Trust on this project which will allow the department to get life-saving tools and training into the hands of law enforcement officers across the state,” said Bureau of Emergency and Trauma Services chief Rebecca Curtiss. “With Helmsley’s support, law enforcement and first responders will be better prepared to respond to cardiac arrests and save lives.”
During the first year of the grant, BETS will distribute defibrillators to all participating law enforcement agencies for primary response vehicles. Master trainers throughout Iowa will teach and refresh CPR and AED skills, and agencies and training academies are invited to check out training devices for continued refresher training.
Communication regarding the training requirements and device distribution will be sent through the ILEA contact lists and through the IDPH/BETS local public health, hospital, and EMS coalitions.