De Smet now Cardiac Ready Community

City is second in South Dakota to achieve this goal


After much work by the De Smet Wellness Coalition, the town has officially been recognized as a Cardiac Ready Community by the State of South Dakota.

De Smet is only the second community in the state to achieve this recognition, following Kimball, which was the pilot city.

To be recognized as a Cardiac Ready Community means that De Smet is working to improve cardiac outcomes for their community members. Through this program, they are providing education to improve cardiovascular health to help prevent heart attacks and strokes and also improve outcomes for those who are experiencing a cardiac event.

Rural areas have further to travel for first responders to arrive, so training the public in CPR and AED use improves survival rates. According to the American Heart Association, survival from cardiac arrest doubles when bystanders use AEDs rather than wait for emergency responders to arrive.


The Cardiac Ready Community committee was formed off the De Smet Wellness Coalition. The Coalition was working toward getting more AEDs out in the community, so pursuing this designation was a perfect fit.

“When we started working on this over two years ago, De Smet was already doing a lot of the requirements of the Cardiac Ready Community program,” said Jodi Jung, CNP at Horizon Healthcare and a major part of the De Smet Wellness Coalition. “The committee just has worked on fine tuning things.”

Jung has been one of nine people working on achieving this goal.

Others as part of this coalition are Karley Fischer, Jim Girard, Traci Smith, Lynn Beck, Gordie Skyberg, Wade Hoefert and Billi Aughenbaugh.

Together, they have worked to spread awareness on this campaign, whether it be teaching classes on CPR or AED use, blood pressure checks, or teaching members of the community about why these are important to know.

Last year, De Smet Rescue hosted a pancake feed where locals could get their blood pressure checked. Then in October, they did a “Save your Achy Breaky Heart, Get Pumped in De Smet” to promote blood pressure screenings and the importance of blood pressure control. All who went to the two clinics in town for a blood pressure check were entered to win two Fitbits provided by the Coalition. Seventy-two residents went, which added up to 10% of the adult De Smet population, but it also made people aware of checking their blood pressure.

“Approximately 26% of the De Smet community has received CPR and AED training in the past two years,” stated Jung. “Prior to working on this, De Smet had only 5% of its population trained in CPR.”

“Over 25% of the businesses in De Smet have offered CPR and AED training to their staff or have CPR and AED trained employees,” added Jung.

Three fire trucks have AEDs on board, and 70% of the fire department are now CPR trained. They also respond along with De Smet Rescue to cardiac event calls. All Kingsbury Sheriff Department vehicles have AEDs in them as well.

Twenty-one locations around De Smet have AEDs available; actually, this is closer to 30 since the school has several. These AEDs are available for anybody anytime one is needed.


Mayor Gary Wolkow has proclaimed June 14, 2022, as Cardiac Readiness Community Day, a day of celebration in De Smet, S.D. Members of the De Smet Wellness Coalition and the Cardiac Readiness Committee met at The Oxbow along with Liz Marso, as the South Dakota Department of Health presented De Smet an official Cardiac Readiness Community certificate.

“You guys have the highest honor; this is not an easy designation,” said Marso.

The city will also be putting up signs letting people know.

“We have been lucky that so many businesses, churches and other organizations have embraced improving cardiac care in De Smet and have purchased AEDs for their location and are providing CPR training,” said Jung. “Our next goal is for 50% of De Smet to be CPR and AED trained.”


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