Thanks to a federal grant awarded to Ephraim McDowell Health Care Foundation, Camp Dick Fire Department and other agencies in the area are better equipped to respond to emergencies.
Two and one-half years ago, the Ephraim McDowell Health Care Foundation successfully applied for a Health Resources and Services Administration grant administered through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Foundation sought the grant funds in order to improve the availability of automatic external defibrillator (AED) devices in the rural communities it serves.
As a result of that grant, the Camp Dick Fire Department now has an AED device available in fire trucks at each of the department’s three stations located in the Bryantsville, Polley’s Bend/High Bridge and Fisher Ford Road communities. In addition, 13 firefighters were trained in CPR through the grant.
“It was awfully nice for Ephraim McDowell to provide the training and to give us the three AEDs so they could be helpful to us and the community,” said Tevis Graham, a volunteer firefighter for 33 years who has been chief of the Camp Dick Fire Department the last two years. “The public doesn’t realize what good these devices would do if they are ever needed.”
Graham noted that the Camp Dick Fire Department has three stations located within a five-mile radius. The department is tax-supported and would not have been able to afford the purchase of the three devices otherwise, he said.
In applying for the grant, the Ephraim McDowell Health Care Foundation had a goal to distribute 20 AED devices and educate at least 400 individuals in CPR and AED use within Boyle County. Due to a reallocation of resources and multiple requests for service, 80 AED devices were distributed and more than 1,800 individuals were trained.
“We’ve only made a drop in the bucket of what needs to be done,” says Terry Casey, an advanced practice registered nurse who works in the Community Service Department at Ephraim McDowell Health and is responsible for helping to oversee the program.
Casey explained that the program funded by the grant is administered through a community partnership between Ephraim McDowell Health, Boyle County Emergency Medical Services and Boyle County Fire Protection District. Those agencies review applications for the AED devices and CPR training and work together to distribute the devices and educate the public.
“The priority for AED placement is for public facilities with high volume use, rural areas with few first responders and first responder units without AEDs,” Casey said.
As a result of the grant, AED devices are now available at several schools, parks, local factories, churches, businesses and a large number of fire departments in Boyle and the surrounding counties.
The CPR training has been well-received in the area communities, Casey noted.
As many as 50 people attended the training in Casey County, she said, and a class offered in Parksville was attended by a young woman who survived a cardiac event because of CPR administered to her.
“These devices are very important to have in our communities because they give our first responders the tool needed for a rapid response to a cardiac event, thus increasing the likelihood for a victim’s survival,” Casey said.