We are pleased to announce that during the summer, we installed 22 new state-of-the-art AED machines across the district. An AED, or automated external defibrillator, is used to help those experiencing sudden cardiac arrest. It’s a sophisticated, yet easy-to-use, medical device that can analyze the heart’s rhythm and, if necessary, deliver an electrical shock, or defibrillation, to help the heart re-establish an effective rhythm. AEDs are portable and can be used by nonmedical people (lay-rescuers) making it possible for more people to respond to a medical emergency where defibrillation is required.
We’ve always had AED’s in the buildings but the old fleet was 12-15 years old and while they were all still working, the software associated with them was outdated, they had a short battery life and required the nurses to manually test them each month.
With funding from the CARES Act ESSR II Covid Funding, we were able to purchase new AEDs for every district building. Replacing the old machines was something we had wanted to do even before COVID hit but required applying for a grant or trying to find funding somewhere. This ESSR II funding allowed us to get them without the need to apply for a grant.
Now we have at least one brand new AED in every district building including District Office, TLRC, ELC, Transportation and Building & Grounds buildings. Previously, our athletics department had just one AED but now has 3 allowing the option for a machine to be at the stadium, gym and travel on the bus for away games. All of the machines are strategically place to be “Fully Public Accessible” meaning they are located in a common space like a gym or cafeteria where outside rental groups may be located. Each machine is marked with a sign and in a white box. The AED station also includes a Stop the Bleeding Kit, a CPR Face shield and an AED prep kit that includes gloves, a razor, and other supplies to help in case of an emergency.
The state-of-the-art units made by Physicontrol talk you through providing CPR with very specific but simple instructions. The machine is fully automatic, so a lay rescuer doesn’t have to actually give the shock, but simply adhere the patches in the proper place then the machine takes over. Additionally, each unit automatically checks itself to ensure the battery is charged and the unit is prepped and ready for use. It sends District Nurse Amy Chebuhar an email if it’s not working. This means there’s no lag time when a machine may be out of order. It also frees up our nurses from doing manual checks so they can spend more time caring for our students.
The AED is just one part of our safety and emergency program. Every school building has a “Green Team.” They are a hand-picked emergency response team with each member providing a specific role. They are trained in CPR/AED. But again, the great thing about these new AED’s is that you don’t have to be trained to use this new unit. The District has a partnership with the Pleasant Hill Fire Department who conducts 3 in-person training sessions each year and we encourage everyone to take CPR/AED training. It could save a life.