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BIRMINGHAM (March 18, 2013) – In an ongoing effort to ensure that Alabama schools are well-equipped with and trained to use automated external defibrillators, Cris Brown of Alabama LifeStart is delivering the lifesaving equipment to 14 schools across the state this month. These schools and more than 20 others have agreed to incorporate training on the devices into the health or physical education curriculum.
As of 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, few staff and even fewer students know how to use them and some have only limited access to the equipment. In some schools, the equipment is housed in areas that are distant from the place where an emergency is most likely to occur such as the athletic field or gymnasium. The training and the installation of a second AED will improve the school’s ability to respond quickly and effectively to sudden cardiac arrest. School nurses will conduct the training. “I want the AEDs to be as numerous as fire extinguishers,” Brown said. “You don’t want to have to go searching in an emergency.”
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.
Brown is distributing AEDs to these schools this month: Satsuma Jr. High, Montgomery Technical Education Center, Greensboro Middle, Chickasaw city schools, Francis Marion High, Hokes Bluff High, Saint James School, McKenzie High, Bibb County High, West Blocton High, Fyffe School, Hartselle High, Horseshoe Bend School and Greenville Middle.
These additional schools have agreed to add AED training to their curriculum subject to receiving a free AED from Alabama LifeStart: Maplesville High, Lynn High, Waterloo School, Collinsville High, Minor High, West Limestone, Pleasant Home, Ben Russell High, Moody High, Marbury High, Handley High, Sumiton Christian School, Childersburg High, Phil Campbell High, Oxford High, North Sand Mountain School, Sparkman High, Meeks High and Alabama Christian Academy. Providing those AEDs depends on how much money is raised in 2013.
Funds to purchase the AEDs, which cost approximately $1,500 each, are raised by the annual Links to Life Celebrity Golf Classic to be held Monday, April 29, 2013 at Shoal Creek Golf and Country Club (100 New Williamsburg Dr., Shoal Creek, AL 35242.) The event is the signature fundraising event of the Lord Wedgwood Charity. The event includes cocktails, dinner and an auction at Workplay on Sunday, April 28, at 6 p.m. Music will be provided by Black Jacket Symphony. The golf tournament is accepting team and individual participants. All ticket information about the tournament and the dinner is available at http://lwcharity.com.
About Alabama LifeStart
A 2007 survey conducted with the Alabama State Department of Education identified 71 public high schools and 107 public middle schools in the state with no AEDs on campus, including 20 school systems without AEDs in any schools. 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 a 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 middle, 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 three years by US News & World Report.
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 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.