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State authorizes AED grants to vast majority of municipalities, many local

Quincy, MA – May 5:  Mass. Gov. Charlie Baker speaks about the state’s capital Budget announcement at the Quincy Courthouse on May 5, 2022 in Quincy, Massachusetts. (Staff Photo By Stuart Cahill/Boston Herald)
Quincy, MA – May 5: Mass. Gov. Charlie Baker speaks about the state’s capital Budget announcement at the Quincy Courthouse on May 5, 2022 in Quincy, Massachusetts. (Staff Photo By Stuart Cahill/Boston Herald)
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A new Massachusetts grant program will provide funding to equip municipal emergency response vehicles across nearly 70% of the state’s cities and towns with automated external defibrillators, including many in the region.

A total of $527,000 in grants will help all 246 police and fire departments that applied for AED funding following an announcement from the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security in late April. Local awardees include:

  • Ashburnham Fire Department: $2,329
  • Ashby Fire Department: $2,500
  • Ayer Fire Department: $2,500
  • Billerica Police Department: $2,500
  • Chelmsford Fire Department: $2,500
  • Dracut Fire Department: $2,500
  • Dunstable Police Department: $2,500
  • Fitchburg Fire Department: $2,500
  • Harvard Fire Department: $1,847
  • Lunenburg Fire Department: $2,116
  • Pepperell Police Department: $2,500
  • Townsend Fire Department: $2,500
  • Tyngsboro Fire Department: $2,500
  • Westminster Fire Department: $2,329

AEDs provide medical care in emergency situations, often when individuals are in cardiac arrest and have abnormal heart rhythm, and delivers an electric shock that allows the patient to resume normal heart function.

State legislators approved the grant awards through Chapter 24 of the Massachusetts Acts of 2021, which allows lawmakers to make appropriations to the fiscal 2022 budget.

Legislators committed $500,000 for AED grants through the state’s budget this year, but after multiple municipalities requested more funding, state Secretary of Public Safety and Security Terrence Reidy permitted that the Edward J. Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant be used to provide an additional $27,000. Justice Assistance Grants are part of a federal program that supports law enforcement, courts, crime prevention and other similar needs at the local, state and tribe level.

Twelve communities’ public safety departments received federal Justice Assistance Grants, including the Devens Fire Department and the Shirley Fire Department, which will each accept $2,500.

In a statement, Gov. Charlie Baker stated that securing AED money for the majority of towns in the commonwealth will protect the 350,000 people in the U.S. that experience sudden cardiac arrest every year.

“Our administration remains committed to making sure local public safety officials have the tools they need to save lives,” Baker said. “Providing first responders with immediate access to an AED will improve cardiac patient care and improve emergency response.”

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