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FOR RELEASE: February 10, 2004
CONTACT: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications
405/271-5601

Automated Defibrillator Program Announced for Rural Oklahoma

Continuing a program begun in 2003, the Oklahoma State Department of Health, the American Heart Association, and the Oklahoma Association of Regional Councils are making approximately 150 automated external defibrillators available to Oklahoma’s rural communities. Qualifying agencies have until February 27 to apply for the defibrillators, funded through a grant from the federal Health Resources Services Administration.

Automated external defibrillators (AED) can be a lifesaver for someone suffering a sudden cardiac arrest. An AED can automatically analyze heart rhythms and deliver an electric current to the heart of a cardiac arrest victim, literally restarting a heart that has stopped beating. The key to survival is prompt defibrillation within a five-minute response time or less.

Oklahoma ranks second in the nation for cardiovascular disease deaths. Emergency resources are particularly scarce in rural areas of the state. In 2003, 91 AEDs were provided to Oklahoma rural communities and organizations using federal funds through a similar grant process. Most AEDs were placed for use by non-medical personnel, such as police, firefighters, sheriffs, and state troopers. Defibrillators are particularly effective if placed in 24-hour radio-dispatched mobile units that may respond to a medical emergency.

Applicants should contact their local Council of Government through the Oklahoma Association of Regional councils at http://www.ascog.org/ascog-internet/cogs.htm, or call them at (405) 521-8444.

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