GMS, McKenzie named ‘Heart-Safe Schools’
Published 2:51 pm Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Greenville Middle School and McKenzie High School have each been awarded the title of “Heart-Safe School” by Alabama LifeStart.
The Butler County schools are two of 15 schools statewide to receive the title. The schools were recognized for having incorporated automated external defibrillators (AED) training into their student health or physical education curriculum.
In March, Cris Brown, executive director of Alabama LifeStart, an initiaive of Children’s of Alabama and the University of Alabama at Birmingham donated an automated external defibrillator (AED) to Greenville Middle School and McKenzie School.
An AED is a lightweight, portable device that delivers an electric shock through the chest to the heart. The shock can stop an irregular rhythm and allow a normal rhythm to resume in a heart in sudden cardiac arrest. Sudden cardiac arrest is an abrupt loss of heart function and if it’s not treated within minutes, it can quickly lead to death.
Both GMS and McKenzie were presented with the devices because the schools have agreed to teach its students to properly use the life-saving devices.
According to Brown, GMS and McKenzie were among the first 10 schools in the state to receive a free AED.
In 2011, every public middle, junior and senior high school in the state was equipped with at least one AED, according to a release issued by Children’s of Alabama, which partners with Alabama LifeStart and Lord Wedgwood Charity to place the devices in schools.
However, according to officials with Children’s of Alabama not all faculty, staff and students know how to use the devices quickly in an emergency. This coming school year, every student at these 15 heart-safe schools will have the opportunity to learn how to use an AED in case of a sudden cardiac arrest emergency. School nurses and teachers will conduct the training. The training, as well as the installation of an additional AED in some schools, will improve the school’s ability to respond quickly and effectively to a cardiac arrest.
Nationwide, about 7,000 high school age children die from sudden cardiac arrest and only five to 10 percent survive without immediate treatment. An AED can increase the survival rate to 50 percent.
“Each year thousands of high-school age children in the U.S. die from sudden cardiac arrest, so this is an exciting announcement for students and parents across the state,” said Dr. Yung Lau, medical director of Alabama LifeStart and a pediatric electrophysiologist at UAB.
Other schools have been awarded the title of “Heart-Safe School” by Alabama LifeStart include:
- Bibb County High School, Centreville
- Chickasaw City Elementary School, Chickasaw
- Chickasaw City High School, Chickasaw
- Francis Marion High School, Marion
- Fyffe High School, Fyffe
- Greensboro Middle School, Greensboro
- Hartselle High School, Hartselle
- Hokes Bluff High School, Hokes Bluff
- Horseshoe Bend School, New Site
- Montgomery Technical Education Center, Montgomery
- Saint James School, Montgomery
- Satsuma Middle School, Satsuma
- West Blocton High School, West Blocton