PCHS receives free AED
Twelve Alabama schools were recently named “Heart-Safe Schools” by Alabama LifeStart for committing to add automated external defibrillator (AED) training to their classroom curriculum.
Phil Campbell High School was one of these 12 schools and PE and health teacher Amy Moss said it would be a great addition to their school.
“Students in my health classes will be trained to use the machine in the event a heart emergency ever arises,” she said.
“I believe it is a great resource for our school to have in case of a heart emergency, and with heart disease being the leading killer of both men and women, and with these types of emergencies happening at younger ages, it will especially be important to have an AED at our school.
“The more people we can train, the better off we will be in the event of an emergency, although I hope it is one we never have to use.
“Also, it may steer some of our students toward a career in the medical field.”
Alabama LifeStart will be awarding PCHS with their free AED this month for their efforts to prevent sudden cardiac arrest.
“Each year many 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.
As of 2011, every public middle, junior and senior high school in the state was equipped with at least one AED, thanks in large part to a partnership of Alabama LifeStart, Children’s of Alabama and Lord Wedgwood Charity.
Unfortunately, few staff and even fewer students know how to use them and some have only limited access to the equipment. Nationwide, thousands of high school age children die from sudden cardiac arrest. An AED can increase the survival rate to 50 percent. AEDs and AED training will improve the schools’ ability to respond quickly and efficiently to a cardiac emergency.
“This is a great program and something that will be beneficial for our students and teachers as well as anyone else who might be visiting our campus at Phil Campbell,” Franklin County Superintendent Gary Williams said.
“We are proud to be part of this program and to receive this AED from Alabama LifeStart.”
A 2007 survey conducted with the Alabama State Department of Education identified 71 public high schools and 107 public middle schools that did not have any AEDs on campus. Alabama LifeStart Director Cris Brown, working with Dr. Lau and Barbara Mostella, a nurse at UAB, created Alabama LifeStart to address this need.
A grant from Children’s of Alabama funded the pilot program that was conducted in the Black Belt where there was a high concentration of schools lacking the devices. Brown has managed the project since its inception. By the end of 2014, Alabama LifeStart will have provided more than 200 schools in the state with free AEDs and support for AED training.