|Director Cris Brown, Barbara Mostella
and Dr. Yung Lau of UAB
Nationwide, about 7,000 high school age children die from sudden cardiac arrest each year and only five to 10 percent survive without immediate treatment. An AED can increase the survival rate to 50 percent.
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. 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. Dr. Lau has served as its Medical Director and Brown has managed the project since its inception. For more information on equipping your school with an AED, contact Alabama LifeStart.
In an effort to ensure that Alabama schools are well-equipped with and trained to use automated external defibrillators (AEDs), Alabama LifeStart awarded 30 schools the title of "Heart-Safe School" in 2013. 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:
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, students at these 30 heart-safe schools will have the opportunity to learn, as a part of their regular curriculum, 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. Since 2008, a total of 186 schools in Alabama have received free AEDs and AED training from Alabama LifeStart.