b'2021 CARES Annual Report 17 17 most agencies had their AEDs installed and officers trained by the end of 2021. One hundred nineteen agencies are participating in the program - 43 municipal, 53 county, 7 state, 5 tribal, 3 campus, and 7 federal - and to date, this initiative has helped place more than 2,100 devices across the state.With two years of comprehensive statewide CARES data as a baseline, improving trends in patient outcomes are projected, starting with 2022 data. There have been many successful resuscitations reported already, including two teens and several other relatively young individuals who are not normally considered at risk for cardiac arrest. In all of these cases, AEDs were used in the resuscitation efforts, with most involving law enforcement application prior to EMS arrival. A pay-it-forward campaign was also implemented by several agencies with existing devices. Those AEDs were placed in youth sports venues, daycares, churches, and other facilities within the agencies communities. Several recipients also expressed gratitude for the devices from a personal perspective. This is the difference between life and death, said Sheridan County Sheriff Heidi Visocan. Were pretty remote. [Sheridan County] is 1,700 square miles with 3,600 people. Sometimes were 45 miles from the hospital, so its going to take the ambulance a while to get out there to us. If we can get out there and start initial lifesaving care, its going to be a really good benefit to the community. The broader ECVC system has also seen improvements. Critical Access Hospitals and larger PCI facilities have improved communication and coordination with EMS, and as a result, have seen more cardiac arrest survivors. STEMI and Stroke Alerts from the field are happening more frequently in an effort to accelerate patient care at hospitals and shorten times to thrombolytics and PCI. Having access to CARES allows EMS and hospital partners to track these patients across the continuum of care, from arrest to hospital disposition. Getting feedback from EMS and finding out the patients outcome is a real motivator for the officers, said Officer Jon Ogden, AED Program Manager for Bozeman Police Department.Creating a statewide system of care in such a large, rural state has been a challenge. CARES is a critical resource to drive change and ultimately, improve outcomes from cardiac arrest in the state of Montana. A law enforcement officer responds to an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest equipped with an AED. Photo taken by Courtney Perry:The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust.'