Marana school staff learning how to use heart defibrillators - The Explorer: Pima Pinal

Marana school staff learning how to use heart defibrillators

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Posted: Tuesday, July 28, 2009 11:00 pm | Updated: 1:31 pm, Mon Apr 18, 2011.

Training on heart-starting automated external defibrillators is being conducted this week for staff in the Marana Unified School District.

District site coordinators are learning about the devices this Wednesday, Aug. 29, at the district administrative building. Carol Gibbs from Desert AED and district health services staff are providing instruction from 1 to 3 p.m. Wednesday.

Staff trainings are also scheduled for 9-10 a.m. Thursday at Rattlesnake Ridge Elementary School, 8500 N. Continental Reserve Loop, and from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Friday at Roadrunner Elementary School, 16651 W. Calle Carmela.

Each year, a minimum of 10 percent of MUSD staff at each site are trained on use of automated external defibrillators. Health care staff, office staff, athletic trainers, teachers, cafeteria workers, administrators and all bus drivers receive instruction.

"These units are extremely user friendly and are safe to use on children as young as age 1," said Kathe Sudano, director of health services.

"We believe that early intervention is crucial," said Tamara Crawley, public relations director. "We are aware of students and staff who have known cardiac conditions and the implementation of these devices throughout the district enhances our commitment to the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff, parents and visitors."

MUSD was the first school district in Arizona to adopt policies and procedures regarding a district-wide AED program in March 2006. Thirty units are installed throughout Marana schools, with one at each of the 12 elementary schools, one at each district administrative services building, two at each of the two middle schools and three at each of the two high schools.

According to the American Heart Association, sudden cardiac arrest is a leading cause of death in the United States. It occurs when electrical signals in the heart cause its pumping chambers (ventricles) to beat at such a dangerously accelerated rate (ventricular fibrillation) that blood is not pumped to support the rest of the body's metabolic needs. Treatment for sudden cardiac arrest is electrical defibrillation. Studies indicate that a trained non-medical person can easily and successfully use an AED to save a life. AEDs improve a victim's chance of survival by as much as 70 percent, according to the association.

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