Spearfish Community Foundation spearheads project aimed at saving lives
SPEARFISH, SD – Thanks to a project spearheaded by the Spearfish Community Foundation, there are now five portable AEDs (automated external defibrillator) available for special event organizers to check out for events, with 10 additional public access AED stations to be installed later this year at high-traffic, high health risk areas and other strategic locations in Spearfish.
Our primary objective for the Public Access AED Community Project is to save lives,” Sue Konstant, president of the Spearfish Community Foundation (SCF) Board of Directors, said. “SCF wants to close the time gap for those critical minutes between the time a person experiences a sudden cardiac arrest and when our dedicated, professional first responders can arrive at the specific location of the victim. Spearfish hosts numerous, largely attended recreational, community, and sporting events, our parks are often crowded, and our rec path is significantly busy, so we want to provide several critical public access devices across Spearfish so a bystander can quickly assist the person who may have experienced a sudden cardiac arrest – thus increasing their chances of survival.”
The Spearfish Community Foundation, which allocates funds to high-impact projects that address community needs, approached the Spearfish City Council in March to present Phase 1 of the Public Access AED Community Project. At that time, the SCF requested a $15,000 grant from the City to put toward the project, which is estimated to cost more than $100,000 once the first phase is completed. Konstant said the foundation is actively raising funds from individuals, civic groups, businesses/corporations, grants from other foundations, and through a matching fund challenge.
Konstant explained the project addresses the critical public health need to ensure easily accessible AEDs are always available for a bystander to revive someone from a sudden cardiac arrest, thus increasing the victim's chances of survival. Five lightweight, portable AEDs are at the Spearfish Recreation and Aquatics Center for organizers to check out and have on hand during community events, such as bicycle races, walks/runs, Festival in the Park, Downtown Friday Nights, and other recreational, sporting, and community events.
We encourage special event coordinators to reserve the appropriate number of AED devices early and/or at the time they register their Spearfish community events with the City,” Konstant said.
Tyler Ehnes, Spearfish Parks and Recreation Director, explained the AEDs may be checked out through the City’s Special Events Coordinator, who is located at the rec center, and once reserved, will be available for pickup from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The AEDs are available free of charge, and the event organizer has to sign a waiver when checking out the device(s).
Event organizers are encouraged to take advantage of this service to help prevent the cardiac deaths of their participants and spectators,” he said, adding that the AEDs are already being checked out, and the process is working well.
The next part of the project calls for the installation of 10 all-weather, illuminated smart cabinets and towers that include AED units and Stop the Bleed kits at high-traffic, high health risk areas and other strategic locations in Spearfish, such as along the rec path, in several City parks, in the downtown area, and at various local sports complexes. Konstant explained the smart monitored cabinets ensure security, proper operational functionality, and GPS technology for 911 dispatchers, fire/EMS, and health care providers, with directional signage to be installed to indicate the AED unit locations. The stations are scheduled to be installed later this summer/early fall.
This project is part of Spearfish Community Foundation’s Impacting Tomorrow Together initiative, Konstant added, describing how the initiative leverages collective resources to fund charitable-purpose projects/programs that make a large community impact and address community needs.
s AED Unit Community Project not only aligns with our mission but also offers one more community hallmark that elevates Spearfish’s ‘quality of life’ to an even higher level,” she said. “
The Spearfish Community Foundation is extremely grateful for the positive and awe-inspiring response, project assistance, and financial support so far from the Spearfish community, the City of Spearfish, several City of Spearfish departments, other project strategic partners, several businesses, civic groups, and private individuals for the AED Unit Community Project. Together, we are impacting the Spearfish community for generations to come!”
To reserve an AED for a registered Spearfish community event, call the Spearfish Rec Center, located at 122 Recreation Lane, at (605) 722-1430.
More information about the Spearfish Community Foundation is available on its website, and citizens also have the option to donate to the SCF through the City website or their utility bills.