Iowa awarded $10 million for new defibrillators

(Des Moines, IA) -- Iowa's getting a $10-million dollar grant to buy thousands of automatic external defibrillators (AEDs). Law enforcement agencies and first responders will get more than 4,000 over the next three years.

The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust has awarded the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) Bureau of Emergency and Trauma Services (BETS) the grant.

The three-year project will also train law enforcement professionals to use the devices. The project will 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.”

The American Heart Association has conducted studies, showing a dramatically higher survival rate for cardiac patients defibrillated by law enforcement, who are generally first on the scene, especially in rural areas.

“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 LIFEPAK® CR2 defibrillators designed by Stryker to participating law enforcement agencies. Trainers will teach and refresh CPR and AED skills.

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