DUMAS, Ark. (News release) — Students, visitors and employees of Dumas schools have a better chance of surviving a sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) after being trained on a new cardiac emergency response plan using Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs).
The training, taught by Arkansas Children’s Hospital Heart Center leaders, means the schools in Dumas are the first “Heart Safe” schools in the state designated by Project ADAM.
This cardiac emergency response plan was implemented with Arkansas Children’s through a partnership that trains staff and students to recognize a cardiac arrest and respond appropriately.
“Our goal is to truly reach students where they live, learn and play and save lives through education and preparedness,” said Amber Jones, RN, director of the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit at Arkansas Children’s Hospital and one of the training’s facilitators. “We are proud of the commitment these schools have made to ensure their students are better today and healthier tomorrow.”
Arkansas Children’s will train six more schools through the summer months. In addition to training, schools must participate in a drill exercise where 911 is called so they can understand how long it may take for emergency medical services to deliver life-saving care.
In the United States, SCA affects more than 350,000 people annually and is the leading cause of death each year. While most SCA deaths occur in adults, SCA is also the leading cause of death in young athletes and can also strike children participating in normal school or sports activity.
Sudden cardiac arrest is the abrupt, unexpected loss of heart function, usually resulting from an electrical problem within the heart. When this happens, the heart stops beating and blood stops flowing to the brain and other vital organs. When this occurs the victim collapses and loses consciousness. SCA most often results in death if not treated within minutes.
Defibrillation, which delivers an electric shock to the heart, is the only known treatment to stop this chaotic electrical activity within the heart. Each minute defibrillation is delayed, the victim’s chances of survival decreases by 10 percent.
AEDs are safe and easy to use, making it possible for non-medical personnel to be trained to provide rapid defibrillation for victims of all ages. The American Heart Association, Project ADAM and OSHA recommend that any facility in which large groups of people congregate should establish a CPR and AED program.
Arkansas Children’s is partnering through philanthropy with Project ADAM to support Arkansas schools. This designation indicates to the public that a school staff is trained and prepared to respond to a cardiac emergency.
Project ADAM is a national, non-profit organization committed to saving lives through advocacy, education, preparedness and collaboration to prevent sudden cardiac death. Its affiliate programs improve the cardiac chain of survival in schools and communities in memory of Adam Lemel, a 17-year-old Whitefish Bay, WI, high school student who collapsed and died while playing basketball at school.
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