Friday, September 22, 2006
Carlisle School defibrillator adds to public safety
School nurse Kathy Horan says about 40 school employees are already trained on how to use the automatic electronic defibrillator, or AED device, including all school administrators, the health/physical education and custodial staffs, and many teachers who voluntarily took the course.
A defibrillator gives a shock to the heart to restore its normal rhythm. It can restart the heart into action and restore blood flow through the body after a cardiac event. Training covered the basics of CPR procedure, as well as how to use the defibrillator device itself, said Horan, who along with nurse Lori Desjardin, worked with the staff.
The school has already had a portable defibrillator device in the nurse's office for the last year. All police cruisers and emergency vehicles carry them, and they are installed at both the police station and Town Hall, through funds provided by grants. In the last year, the school health office was notified that some children attending the school are at risk for a cardiac event and could need the machine.
When the defibrillator case is opened, a fire alarm goes off at the school, an automatic alarm goes to the fire station, and an ambulance is dispatched to the school.
While emergency help is on its way, the defibrillator at the school can be used in the few minutes before emergency personnel arrive.
Outside of school hours, custodians are trained to use the device as they are on campus whenever school buildings are open. However, anyone can use the defibrillator in an emergency, emphasizes Horan, as it is designed to be simple to operate. When the start button is pressed a voice prompts users through three procedural steps.
The School Committee voted to approve $1,400 for the device mounted on the Corey lobby wall. The health office developed a policy and procedure document for the device, a document shared with Carlisle by the Concord Public Schools.
CCHS sophomore Matthew Koski was instrumental in getting defibrillators at the school, said Horan. While in middle school in Carlisle, Koski initiated the project to improve something in his community while working on a Boy Scout citizenship and community merit badge.
Both the American Red Cross and the American Heart Association promote the use of the devices for public safety and Concord-Carlisle Community Education offers training in both CPR and defibrillator use.
© 2006 The