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Twelve Alabama Schools Named "Heart-Safe" Schools

BIRMINGHAM – Twelve Alabama schools were recently named “Heart-Safe Schools” by Alabama LifeStart for committing to add automated external defibrillator (AED) training to their classroom curriculum. Alabama LifeStart will be awarding each of the schools a free AED this month for their efforts to prevent sudden cardiac arrest.

The honored schools were:
•              Cedar Ridge Middle School
•              Childersburg High School
•              Handley High School
•              Marbury High School
•              Meek High School
•              North Sand Mountain School
•              Oak Park Middle School
•              Park Crossing High School
•              Phil Campbell High School
•              Providence Christian School
•              Sparkman High School
•              Sumiton Christian School

"Each year many high-school age children in the U.S. die from sudden cardiac arrest, so this is an exciting announcement for students and parents across the state," said Dr. Yung Lau, medical director of Alabama LifeStart and a pediatric electrophysiologist at UAB.

These 12 schools will soon begin training students in the proper usage of AEDs in the case of a cardiac emergency. 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. Nationwide, thousands of high school age children die from sudden cardiac arrest. An AED can increase the survival rate to 50 percent. AEDs and AED training will improve the schools’ ability to respond quickly and efficiently to a cardiac emergency.
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. Alabama LifeStart Director Cris Brown, working with Dr. Lau and Barbara Mostella, a nurse at 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. Brown has managed the project since its inception. By the end of 2014, Alabama LifeStart will have provided more than 200 schools in the state with free AEDs and support for AED training. Visit for more information about Alabama LifeStart. 

Children’s of Alabama has provided specialized medical care for ill and injured children across the state and throughout the southeastern U.S. since 1911. For the past three years, Children’s has been ranked among the best children’s hospital programs in the nation by US News & World Report. Last year, patients 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, it is the third largest pediatric medical facility in the U.S. Children’s offers inpatient and outpatient services across its Russell Campus on Birmingham’s historic Southside with additional outpatient services provided at Children’s South and Children’s on 3rd. Primary care is provided at more than a dozen medical offic! es in communities across central Alabama. Children’s of Alabama is the only medical center in Alabama dedicated solely to the care and treatment of children. It is a private, not-for-profit medical center that serves as the primary site of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) pediatric medicine, surgery, research and residency programs. Children’s recently moved much of its inpatient services into a new building named The Benjamin Russell Hospital for Children. More information is available at