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FOR RELEASE: January 7, 2005
More Automated External Defibrillators Available for Rural Oklahoma
For the third straight year, the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Division of the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) has received federal funds to purchase automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) for placement in rural areas of Oklahoma.
An AED can be a lifesaver for someone suffering a sudden cardiac arrest. The AED will automatically analyze heart rhythms and deliver an electric current to the heart of a cardiac arrest victim, restarting the heart.
The federal Health Resources Services Administration has provided $197,031, which will be used by the OSDH to purchase as many AED units as possible. In 2004, the EMS Division distributed 207 defibrillators to rural areas and more than 120 in 2003.
Sudden cardiac arrest is one of the leading causes of death in North America, killing one adult every one to two minutes. National annual fatalities are estimated to exceed 225,000 with the average victim about age 65, although some victims are in their 30s or 40s.
The key to survival is prompt defibrillation. Public safety agencies should aim to reduce the critical interval from collapse to defibrillation by focusing on minimizing the time from the emergency 911 call to the first defibrillator shock. Communities that reduce this "call-to-shock" time to five minutes or less can expect to resuscitate as many as one-third to one-half of sudden cardiac arrest victims found in ventricular fibrillation. Eight in 10 survivors will live at least a year longer, and six in 10 survivors will live at least five more years.
“The challenge for communities is to respond immediately with a defibrillator and treat every victim within five minutes of arrest. It really doesn't matter who brings the defibrillator to the victim's side. The important thing is to make sure the unit is working and readily available,” said Shawn Rogers, director of the OSDH EMS Division.
“An action plan should ensure the device and trained rescuers reach the victim in time. Since rapid defibrillation is the key to success, 24-hour, radio-dispatched, mobile platforms like police and sheriff's or fire chief cars are very effective placements,” Rogers added.
The EMS Division applied for the grant as the lead agency in a partnership with 10 organizations including the Oklahoma Association of Regional Councils, Oklahoma State Firefighters Association, Oklahoma Sheriffs Association, American Heart Association, Association of Police Chiefs, Office of Rural Health, and the OSDH Chronic Disease Service.
The Regional Councils of Government have begun taking applications for the program. Applications are due by February 15. The group is contracted to rank applications using a “scoring tool” to determine the most effective venues for successful defibrillations.
“Everyone who has a duty to respond to victims of sudden cardiac arrest should be trained and equipped to defibrillate. Responders with rapid response times such as firefighters and police, as well as the EMTs whose job is to save lives, are natural choices to receive the training and equipment,” Rogers said.
For information about how to obtain an application for an AED, contact a local Council of Government (COG). Below is a list of the COGs and their telephone numbers.
ACOG (sub-state planning district 8) GGEDA (sub-state planning district 1)
ASCOG (sub-state planning district 9)
COEDD (sub-state planning district 5) KEDDO (sub-state planning district 3)
EODD (sub-state planning district 2) NODA (sub-state planning district 7)
OEDA (sub-state planning district 11) SODA (sub-state planning district 4)
SWODA (sub-state planning district 10)
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