On November 28, Governor Kristi Noem published an article thanking South Dakota’s emergency responders from news.sd.gov.
For most of us, we hope to never need help from emergency responders. But when our darkest moments come, we depend on them to be there for us. And they answer the call. They put their lives on the line to help others every day. Wherever you live – whatever and wherever your emergency may be –every South Dakotan can be taken care of in an emergency.
I have taken action to support our emergency responders by making it easier to do their job and providing funding when necessary.
We have equipped our emergency responders with telehealth capabilities that will allow patients to get better treatment faster. We just recently announced a new partnership with Avel eCare to put these new services into practice, and we are excited about the possibilities. Together with Avel eCare, we are calling the new initiative “Telemedicine in Motion.”
This initiative will connect patients with physician and nurse professionals who can assist in assessment, treatment, and transfer to an appropriate facility. And the strong level of connectivity means that these services will help South Dakotans in even the most remote corners of our state.
Last year, we funded new LIFEPAKs for emergency responders across the state, providing $11.6 million to purchase state-of-the-art equipment that will literally save lives in a time of crisis. We are also providing training, distribution, implementation, and installation of this equipment to make sure that our first responders can put it to good use when they help folks in their communities. And we were able to secure these life-saving devices at a savings of $9.7 million to taxpayers. We always find ways to be responsible stewards of taxpayer money, even when we need to make important purchases.
We are also working on a comprehensive analysis of our state’s EMS resources so that we can plan for where our needs will be in the future. My Department of Health will have more to announce about that in the near future.
We will continue to support South Dakota’s firefighters. We have helped provide crucial training resources that will keep them well-prepared to serve our communities. And we have provided new equipment to South Dakota Wildland Fire to handle some of the bigger wildfires that can pose a threat, particularly in the Black Hills. If you are looking to give this holiday season, your local volunteer fire department is always a good investment.
We will also continue to emphasize our support and respect for law enforcement. I am proud to live in a state that places such a high priority on defending law enforcement officers – not defunding them. And we will continue to set that example for the rest of the nation.
We will continue to thank our emergency responders for everything they do to keep us safe. Give thanks for their service this holiday season – and try not to do anything that will require them to come save you!