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NH schools place AEDs to fight sudden cardiac arrest

Four automated external defibrillators (AEDs) were recently placed in school buildings of the North Harrison Community School Corp. as a way to increase chances of surviving a sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). The school board of trustees adopted a policy and procedures for the use of the AEDs at its Oct. 14 meeting.
‘Our goal is to protect the lives of our employees and the public at our events,’ said Cherie Stock, a registered nurse for the school corporation who coordinated the program. ‘Having the AEDs on site increases access to early defibrillation and helps us save lives.’
Each year, sudden cardiac arrest claims the lives of at least 250,000 people. The only known treatment for sudden cardiac arrest is the use of a defibrillator, which uses a powerful electric shock to stop the abnormal heart rhythm and allow the heart to return to a more normal beating pattern. Survival rates for sudden cardiac arrest are less than two percent when defibrillation is delayed 10 minutes or more.
Stock purchased the AEDs (with both adult and child pads) with grant monies from the Harrison County Community Foundation. She also bought wall cabinets for storing the AEDs and equipment for training.
The AEDs have been placed close to the gyms at the high school, middle school and elementary school at the Ramsey campus, plus Morgan Elementary School near Palmyra. (North Harrison Upper Elementary School will have quick access to the AED located at the middle school, school officials said.) Stickers will be placed on the schools’ entrance doors to indicate that the schools are ‘Heart Safe’ and so Emergency Management Services personnel will know the locations of each AED.
The medical advisor for the AED program at North Harrison is Dr. Reggie Lyell.
Unlike models of defibrillators intended for use by health-care professionals, AEDs do not require extensive medical knowledge to understand or operate, Stock said. The expertise needed to analyze the heart’s electrical function is programmed into the device and enables ordinary people to provide treatment to victims of SCA. A four-hour training session, covering both AEDs and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), is all that is necessary to learn how to use the device, she said.
The LIFEPAK CR Plus AED, manufactured by Medtronic, provides clear voice prompts that tell the user how to attach the electrodes and then stay clear while the device automatically analyzes the patient’s heart rhythm. If needed, the user is prompted to remain clear and deliver the lifesaving defibrillation shock.
Training sessions will be scheduled at NHHS for staff, coaches and the public interested in being involved in the AED program at North Harrison. For more information, call Stock at 347-2741.
In other matters at its Oct. 14 meeting, the school trustees:
* Accepted three donations: $7,300 from Harrison County Renaissance for North Harrison Renaissance to help operate the program, and $1,000 each from the Arts Council of Southern Indiana and the Harrison County Community Foundation to North Harrison Elementary School to hire a sculptor to work with students in creating a sculpture for the school.
* Accepted Myra Mullins’ resignation as a teacher at Morgan Elementary at the end of the school year.
* Approved the appointments of Sharon Hanen as corporation treasurer; Judy Jeffries as corporation assistant treasurer; Latisha Leppert as an elementary teacher at MES on a temporary contract; Kathy Crimans and Lynn Wagoner as elementary academic advisors for Destination Imagination at MES; Chris Allen and Jason Stephenson as fifth and sixth grade girls developmental basketball coach, respectively; Maria Dodge as a library assistant at NHHS; JoAnna Allen as a prime time teacher’s assistant at MES; Cindy Magner as a prime time teacher’s assistant at NHHS; Linda Reed and Sherry Schulz as prime time teacher’s assistants at NHES; Chris Martin as varsity assistant girls basketball coach, and Blake Snodgrass, Kreis Reed and Cody Mitchell as volunteer basketball boys coaches for eighth, sixth and seventh grades, respectfully.