Cherokee Nation donates portable defibrillators to 50 fire departments

October 5, 2017

Cherokee Nation officials present representatives of 50 local volunteer fire departments with AEDs purchased with money collected through fundraising by Cherokee Nation Businesses employees.Cherokee Nation officials present representatives of 50 local volunteer fire departments with AEDs purchased with money collected through fundraising by Cherokee Nation Businesses employees.

Tribe will provide AEDs to departments within 14-county jurisdiction during multi-phase initiative

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — First responders from 50 northeastern Oklahoma fire departments have increased life-saving abilities after receiving new portable defibrillators from Cherokee Nation and Cherokee Nation Businesses.

During the next two to three years, the tribe and its business arm will provide Automated External Defibrillators, or AEDs, to fire departments within the tribe’s 14-county jurisdiction. The first 50 departments were selected at random and received their new devices Monday.

“Cherokee Nation has always been a strong supporter of fire departments and first responders in our 14 counties,” Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. said. “We know there is a need for rural departments, which are on the frontlines during critical scenarios, to have these life-saving AEDs. I’m convinced that these first 50 defibrillators will save the lives of Cherokees and non-Cherokees for years to come, and we look forward to the day when each and every department in our 14 counties is equipped with this life-saving tool.”

An AED uses electric shock to restore a normal, effective heart rhythm during sudden cardiac arrest. Many rural fire departments operate with donations and membership dues and may be unable to afford the portable defibrillators, which cost nearly $900 each.

Cherokee Nation Businesses employees helped raise funds to purchase the AEDs through the company’s yearlong fundraising effort, Heart of a Nation. The employee-driven campaign specifically addresses health needs of Cherokee Nation citizens. Throughout the year, employees at the tribe’s business and entertainment properties raise funds through volunteer efforts such as cook-offs, dunk tanks, bake sales, silent auctions, penny wars, Indian taco luncheons and more.

“As a company, we take great pride in knowing our efforts directly benefit Cherokee Nation and its citizens, as well as Oklahoma and our local communities,” said Shawn Slaton, chief executive officer of Cherokee Nation Businesses. “Our employees take it a step further by volunteering their time and personal funds to charitable efforts throughout the year. The Heart of a Nation campaign truly exemplifies how much our workforce cares for our neighbors.”

The annual Heart of a Nation campaign is a partnership between CNB and Cherokee Nation Health Services. It is coordinated through CNB’s Community Impact Teams, an initiative to help promote volunteerism and community engagement among employees.

Mid-County Fire Department in Adair County was one of the 50 departments to receive an AED on Monday. Mid-County firefighter Dianna Yell said the addition of the AED is very important for the department and the tribe’s support is vital to the department’s operations.

“This equipment is very important because we’re in a rural area and it can sometimes take EMS a longer response time to find our area,” said Dianna Yell, a firefighter with Mid-County Fire Department in Adair County. “Our first responders from the fire department are usually the first to arrive on scene. An AED is crucial when we get to the patient for rapid response. Cherokee Nation provides a lot of our funding and equipment each year, and it’s a vital part of keeping our fire department going and our community safe.”

Fire departments from the following counties received AEDs:

• Adair County: Adair County Tri-Community Fire Department, Bell Rural Fire Department Inc., Greasy Community Fire Association, Highway 100 West Fire Protection Association, Mid-County Fire Department, Watts Fire Department, Westville Volunteer Fire Department.

• Cherokee County: Chicken Creek Fire Department, Hulbert Fire Department, Illinois River Area Association Fire Department, Keys Fire Department, Norwood Rural Volunteer Fire Department, Welling Fire Department, Woodall Fire Department.

• Delaware County: Cowskin Rural Fire District Inc., Flint Ridge Volunteer Fire Department Inc., Lakemont Shores Fire Protection District, Oaks Fire Department.

• Mayes County: Cabin Creek Fire Department, Chouteau Fire Department, Osage-Pleasant View Fire Department, Strang Community Fire Department.

• Muskogee County: Porum Volunteer Fire Department, Warner Volunteer Fire Department.

• Nowata County: South Coffeyville Fire Department, Town of Delaware, Town of Lenapah, Wann Community Rural Fire Department.

• Rogers County: Catoosa Fire Department, Chelsea Fire Department, Fair Oaks, Tri-District Fire Department, Verdigris Fire Protection District.

• Sequoyah County: Blackgum Mountain Civil Defense and Volunteer Fire Department, Central High Volunteer Fire Department, Liberty Fire Department, Maple Rural Fire District Inc., McKey Rural Firefighters Association, Moffett Fire Department, Redland Fire Department Incorporated, Rocky Point Rural Fire Department Inc., Sallisaw Fire Department, Town of Gore, Vian Volunteer Fire Department, West Tenkiller Fire Department.

• Tulsa County: City of Collinsville, Sperry Fire Department.

• Wagoner County: Flat Rock Volunteer Fire Association, Toppers Rural Fire Department Inc. Washington County: Ochelata Volunteer Fire Department.