The Iowa Department of Public Health Bureau of Emergency and Trauma Services (BETS) has announced a $10 million grant from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust in support of a three-year project to improve cardiac arrest survival rates in the state.
To that end, the project will support efforts to deploy more than four thousand automatic external defibrillators in law enforcement vehicles across the state and provide training in their use to law enforcement professionals. The initiative also will provide AEDs and training for conservation officers and staff at state parks. Studies conducted by the American Heart Association demonstrate a dramatically higher survival rate for cardiac patients who are defibrillated by law enforcement, who are generally the first professionals on the scene of a cardiac event, especially in rural areas.
"The people of Iowa are grateful for the partnership with the Helmsley Charitable Trust," said Iowa 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."
"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."