Grant funds purchase of AED for county fire
Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor

July 24, 2006 - Hopkins County Fire Department recently added a $2,500 piece of equipment to the inventory of tools carried with them for emergency uses, thanks to a grant which also covered training in proper use of the device, according to Hopkins County Fire Chief Carl Nix.

County fire officials were notified in April their department was one of 138 rural first responders in Texas to be awarded funding for an automatic external defibrillator and related cardiopulmonary resuscitation and AED training. 

The funding was a portion of the $220,380 awarded through the 2005/2006 Rural Access to Emergency Devices Grant Program administered by the Office of Rural Community Affairs.

While Hopkins County's firemen respond to all fire and rescue calls during operational hours, they only make emergency calls when other departments are unavailable. Ordinarily, volunteer firefighters act as first responders along with ambulance crews on medical calls. Hopkins County backs the volunteer fire departments up, making those emergency medical calls as needed when volunteers from other departments are not available to take them. The AED and training will better equip Hopkins County firefighters should they be called upon in the absence of other departments, according to Nix.

"Emergency medical services is a critical component of the healthcare system throughout Texas. These services are influenced by a number of factors, including access to equipment and trained responders," said ORCA Executive Director Charles S. Stone. “The AEDs and training provided by this grant will improve the opportunities for immediate cardiac patient care in rural areas. We applaud these awardees for taking time to apply for these funds so they can provide needed care in their communities."

"These AED units, and the special training supported by this funding, will aid the emergency response professionals in performing lifesaving defibrillation of persons who have had a cardiac event resulting in the stopping of their heart. In some cases, having access to this equipment may mean the difference between life and death," said Theresa Cruz, director of ORCA's Rural Health Division.

Rural first responders such as emergency medical services, law enforcement, fire departments and local for-profit and non-profit entities concerned about cardiac arrest survival rates were eligible to apply to the AED program.

Dike Volunteer Fire Department was also awarded an AED through ORCA's AED grant program during the 2005/2006 award year, according to ORCA. Hainesville Volunteer and  Winnsboro Fire Departments in Wood County were also among the local AED grant recipients.

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