Black Hills Energy presented a community giving grant of $4,500 to Black Hills Special Service Cooperative (BHSSC) located in Sturgis. The contribution will help support the Black Hills Special Service Cooperative to purchase a new Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs).
Currently, the only AED we have access to is a portable AED trainer model used for demonstration purposes during CPR training.
The Developmental Disabilities Division of Black Hills Special Services Cooperative (BHSSC) is responsible to ensure that all staff who provide direct support services to developmentally disabled people we serve are CPR certified and trained in the proper use of Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs). Currently, the only AED we have access to is a portable AED trainer model used for demonstration purposes during CPR training. The need for onsite AEDs became evident in 2016 when a student at our day school treatment facility experienced a traumatic medical event and died onsite. While we cannot know with certainty that the presence of an AED could have prevented this student’s death, we do know with certainty that access to an AED would have provided certified staff with a tool that could have been lifesaving.
BHSSC’s Developmental Disabilities Division serves 140 developmentally disabled individuals, ages 6-70 years of age, at 11 western South Dakota locations. Disabilities range from very minimal where individuals live independently in their own apartments with periodic supervision, while others with more severe disabilities or who are medically fragile live in group home settings that provide 24-hour supervision and activities of daily living (ADL) care. BHSSC’s main Sturgis facility supports four group homes in the Sturgis area and an apartment building in Whitewood. We also have two group homes and one apartment building in Hot Springs. Each group home houses six to seven individuals.
The Main Office Building in Sturgis provides elementary school educational, behavioral, and emotional services for 30 students. Additionally, we serve 35 individuals at the Pleasant Valley vocational site and 20 individuals at the Hot Springs vocational site on a daily basis.
These three facilities – the Sturgis Main Office Elementary School, and the Pleasant Valley and Hot Springs vocational sites – are the priority areas we are requesting AEDs. At BHSSC, they made it a priority to acquire AEDs for our locations in order to ensure that staff are not only trained with lifesaving skills, but also have the tools and equipment on hand to actually apply those skills.