By Sue Moore
There are over 383,000 sudden cardiac arrests per year in the U.S. What are the chances that one might occur in a Vicksburg Elementary school building, Julie Barnes and Heather Deal asked rhetorically of the twelve administrators assembled for Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) training.
Survival can be greatly enhanced for children and adults they pointed out if an AED is handy. Four to five minutes is all you have to restart the heart and ten minutes before it’s too late to perform successful CPR, they said. It takes eight to ten minutes for the EMS to get from Vicksburg to Indian Lake or Tobey schools the two Bronson Hospital nurses pointed out. Through the help of the Vicksburg Foundation which purchased three AED machines costing $3,091.
The schools will be equipped with the latest technology that gives an electric shock to the heart to help it begin beating again. CPR is combined with this to insure the flow of blood to the heart while the patient is unresponsive.
Mouth to mouth resuscitation is no longer the norm they agreed, instead the AED analytics tell how much shock is advised and the device has step by step instructions that most anybody can follow to place the pads on the chest to restart the heart.
The two nurses have close connections to the school system and decided to devote themselves to obtaining the three machines for the elementary buildings, since the high school already has three located in strategic places. They intend to come up with a plan for training administrators and staff at each school and monitor the maintenance of the machines, all on a volunteer basis.
Barnes and Deal contacted the Vicksburg Foundation and working through their requirements for matching funds, approached the Parent Teacher organizations (PTO) Rotary and Lions Clubs in Vicksburg with requests.
The PTOs in each school pledged $150 each year. The service clubs donated $500 and $500 respectively for a maintenance fund that that will purchase batteries each year, replacement pads and eventually equipment replacement.
The school has given its blessing with its investment in time for the training and is grateful to the nurses for identifying a need and following through with grants and training to make it happen, Superintendent Charlie Glaes indicated.