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$6.4M Helmsley Charitable Trust Grant funds life-saving tech for Game and Parks

Photo: Nebraska Game and Parks Commission conservation officers and parks staff, along with members of several other law enforcement agencies, were trained on new Automated External Defibrillators received as part of a $6.4 million grant during a session May 17, 2021, at the Nebraska Outdoor Education Center in Lincoln.
Nebraska Game and Parks Commission conservation officers and parks staff, along with members of several other law enforcement agencies, were trained on new Automated External Defibrillators received as part of a $6.4 million grant during a session May 17, 2021, at the Nebraska Outdoor Education Center in Lincoln.

LINCOLN, Neb. — Every Nebraska Game and Parks Commission conservation officer, as well as its parks facilities, is now equipped with the next generation of Automated External Defibrillators thanks to The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust.

In an ongoing effort to improve the cardiac system of care in the Upper Midwest, the Trust awarded a grant of $6.4 million to equip every law enforcement agency with the equipment; Game and Parks received 119 of the new AEDs. The grant, facilitated through the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services Division of Public health, also provided training.

“Seconds count during a cardiac arrest,” said Walter Panzirer, a Helmsley trustee. “We know in Nebraska 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.”

Studies conducted by the American Heart Association demonstrate a dramatically higher survival rate for cardiac patients shocked by law enforcement, who are generally first on the scene, especially in rural areas. The AEDs selected feature technology conducive to the highly mobile and challenging environment of a patrol vehicle.

For example, the AEDs help ensure rescuers provide the fastest first shock when defibrillation is needed. The devices feature industry-leading analysis technology that reduces pauses during CPR, allowing for improved blood circulation and better odds of survival.

Using Wi-Fi connectivity, these self-monitoring devices also can send near real-time event data, including a patient’s heart rhythm and delivered shocks, to incoming emergency services or receiving hospitals, thus allowing for post-event evaluation to improve care delivery.

“Nebraska conservation officers routinely patrol rural areas and are often the first to respond to medical emergencies in their communities and on state park facilities,” said Travis Shepler, Game and Parks Assistant Administrator for law enforcement. “Thanks to the generosity of the Helmsley Charitable Trust, our officers are now better equipped to respond to cardiac events and potentially save lives.”

Game and Parks conservation officers and parks staff were trained on the new devices in late May, and vehicles and parks’ facilities have been outfitted with the new devices.
AEDs previously used by some agencies will be relocated throughout communities, increasing the number of AEDs accessible to the public.

To date, the Helmsley Charitable Trust has invested more than $500 million to improve access to quality healthcare in rural America, $72 million of that in Nebraska.

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About the Helmsley Charitable Trust
The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust aspires to improve lives by supporting exceptional efforts in the U.S. and around the world in health and select place-based initiatives. Since beginning active grantmaking in 2008, Helmsley has committed nearly $3 billion for a wide range of charitable purposes. Helmsley’s Rural Healthcare Program funds innovative projects that use information technologies to connect rural patients to emergency medical care, bring the latest medical therapies to patients in remote areas, and provide state-of-the-art training for rural hospitals and EMS personnel. To date, this program has awarded more than $500 million to organizations and initiatives in the upper Midwest states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, Minnesota, Iowa, and Montana. For more information, visit www.helmsleytrust.org.

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