15 Alabama Schools Honored as “Heart-Safe Schools”

Contact: Adam Kelley, Children’s of Alabama, 205-638-2947, adam.kelley@childrensal.org

BIRMINGHAM (July 15, 2013) — In an effort to ensure that Alabama schools are well-equipped with and trained to use automated external defibrillators (AEDs), Alabama LifeStart has awarded 15 schools the title of “Heart-Safe School.” The recipient schools were honored for having incorporated AED training into their student health or physical education curriculum.

The following schools have been awarded the title of “Heart-Safe School” by Alabama LifeStart:

  •  Bibb County High School, Centreville
  • Chickasaw City Elementary School, Chickasaw
  • Chickasaw City High School, Chickasaw
  • Francis Marion High School, Marion
  • Fyffe High School, Fyffe
  • Greenville Middle School, Greenville
  • Greensboro Middle School, Greensboro
  • Hartselle High School, Hartselle
  • Hokes Bluff High School, Hokes Bluff
  • Horseshoe Bend School, New Site
  • McKenzie High School, McKenzie
  • Montgomery Technical Education Center, Montgomery
  • Saint James School, Montgomery
  • Satsuma Middle School, Satsuma
  • West Blocton High School, West Blocton

In 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, 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.

About 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. Director Cris Brown, working with Dr. Yung Lau and Barbara Mostella of 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. Today, every public middle school, junior high, and high school in Alabama is equipped with at least one AED.

About Children’s of Alabama

Children’s of Alabama has provided specialized medical care for ill and injured children since 1911, offering inpatient and outpatient services throughout central Alabama. Last year, families made more than 670,000 outpatient and nearly 14,000 inpatient visits to Children’s from every county in Alabama and from 41 other states and four foreign countries. With more than 2 million square feet, Children’s is the third largest pediatric medical facility in the U.S. and has been ranked among the top children’s hospital programs in the country for the past four years by US News & World Report. More information is available at www.childrensal.org.

About Lord Wedgwood Charity

After suffering a major heart attack while playing golf in Birmingham, Alabama, in 2001, Lord Piers Wedgwood, international ambassador for Wedgwood China and Waterford Crystal, and member of the British House of Lords, was inspired to give back to the community. Following his recovery, Lord Wedgwood formed the Lord Wedgwood Charity with Birmingham-based business leaders to help place Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs) in high schools and community gathering places. Lord Wedgwood and long-time friend and business partner, Frank Bromberg, III, along with Floyd Larkin and Robbie Robertson, created the Lord Wedgwood Charity Links to Life Celebrity Golf Classic to raise funds. Since its establishment, the Lord Wedgwood Charity has placed AEDs in Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, Virginia, Mississippi, Louisiana, Pennsylvania and Texas.

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