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TUSCALOOSA — The Tuscaloosa City School System (TCSS) was recently named a “Heart Safe School System” for its efforts in educating students and staff on the importance of life-saving Automated External Defibrillators (AED) and for conducting AED Emergency Drills as part of the training. TCSS Superintendent Mike Daria received the award from Cris Brown of Alabama LifeStart and Children’s of Alabama at a small ceremony held at the TCSS central office. The Tuscaloosa City School System is the first school system in the state to meet the new national standards for cardiac-arrest training preparedness developed by Project ADAM affiliates at 17 children’s hospitals from throughout the U.S.
Those schools include:
To date, more than 250 schools have been equipped with AEDs or AED trainer devices from Alabama LifeStart. In an effort to ensure that Alabama schools are well-equipped and trained to use AEDs, the program has also awarded more than 100 schools the title of "Heart Safe School” for having successfully incorporated AED training into their schedules. Last October, a young girl’s life was saved at one of those schools when she suffered a sudden cardiac arrest during a basketball game at Sparkman Junior High in Hartselle. The school’s head nurse and its principal attributed that save to the fast response of the staff who had been trained only a few weeks earlier with an AED trainer device donated by Alabama LifeStart.
Alabama LifeStart also provides free classroom resources to help students, faculty and staff learn how to use an AED and respond quickly and effectively to a sudden 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. Brown, working with Dr. Yung Lau and Barbara Mostella of UAB, created Alabama LifeStart to address this need. A grant from Children's funded the pilot program that was conducted in the Black Belt where there was a high concentration of schools lacking the devices. Every public middle, junior and senior high school in the state is now equipped with at least one AED thanks in large part to Alabama LifeStart and Children's of Alabama.
Since 1911, Children’s of Alabama has provided specialized medical care for ill and injured children, offering inpatient and outpatient services throughout central Alabama. Ranked among the best pediatric medical centers in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, Children’s provided care for youngsters from every county in Alabama, 45 other states and six foreign countries last year, representing more than 677,000 outpatient visits and more than 15,000 inpatient admissions. With more than 2 million square feet, Children’s is the third largest pediatric medical facility in the U.S. More information is available at childrensal.org.