September 19, 1995
GOVERNOR ANNOUNCES PROGRAMS TO SUPPLY HEART DEFIBRILLATORS
SPRINGFIELD, IL -- Gov. Jim Edgar today announced a new partnership with The Prudential Insurance Company of America that will help volunteer emergency medical service squads in Illinois to purchase portable life-saving equipment to aid heart attack victims.
The Governor also announced that, for the second year, the state will spend $50,000 to purchase portable cardiac defibrillators for 10 rural ambulance services to assist emergency personnel in the care of residents living in medically underserved counties.
"As we are all aware, local and state government alone do not possess the resources to provide for all our citizens' needs. This new public/private initiative between Prudential and the residents of areas served by volunteer emergency squads will permit Illinois to build on a program my administration started last year and will help to make life-saving medical technology available to more Illinois citizens," the Governor said.
Currently, about one-third of the 2,100 licensed private and municipal ambulances in Illinois do not carry defibrillators.
The Prudential, through its Helping Hearts Program, will provide $200,000 in matching grant funds available to volunteer EMS squads over the next 12 months to help purchase about 80 defibrillators.
"We have seen that a combination of quick response by emergency medical squads and prompt defibrillation can more than double the survival rate of cardiac arrest victims," said Dale Snow, regional marketing vice president of The Prudential. "Thousands who now die from sudden heart failure could be saved if more EMS squads carried defibrillators. The Prudential wants to help make that happen."
The Prudential piloted its Helping Hearts Program in New Jersey and has now expanded it to Illinois and seven other states -- California, Florida, Maryland, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas.
To be eligible for a Helping Hearts matching grant, an EMS squad must be a volunteer organization and meet state defibrillation training requirements. Once a squad is accepted into the program and has raised half the money needed to purchase a defibrillator, The Prudential will send up to $2,500 in matching funds to the manufacturer of the squad's choice. Details of the program will be mailed to the approximately 350 volunteer ambulance services in Illinois, or persons interested in the program can call The Prudential at 201-802-8888.
The Governor said the state will purchase 10 defibrillators with federal funds provided to the Illinois Department of Transportation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Illinois Department of Public Health solicited applications from ambulance service companies and recommended those to receive the equipment.
The recommendations were based on community need, local hospital support, geographic location and defibrillation training of the ambulance crews.
Special training is required before the ambulance services' emergency medical technicians could use the defibrillators. Local emergency medical service resource hospitals will provide the training.
The defibrillators will be presented over the next few months to the ambulance services by representatives from the departments of Transportation and Public Health. Last year, the state also purchased 10 defibrillators for needy ambulance squads.
The ambulance services to receive the defibrillators are --
of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
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