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Inside Pediatrics Podcast

The Auburn City School System (ACS) was recently named a “Heart-Safe School System” by Alabama LifeStart, a school safety program of UAB and Children’s of Alabama, the state’s only freestanding pediatric hospital. ACS was honored for incorporating automated external defibrillator (AED) emergency drills and other safety measures into its school training at the system’s weekly board meeting.

The following schools earned the title of “Heart-Safe School”:

  • Auburn High
  • Auburn Junior High
  • East Samford School
  • Drake Middle
  • Auburn Early Education Center
  • Cary Woods Elementary
  • Creekside Elementary
  • Dean Road Elementary
  • Ogletree Elementary
  • Pick Elementary
  • Richland Elementary
  • Wrights Mill Road Elementary
  • Yarbrough Elementary

ACS becomes Alabama LifeStart’s newest Heart Safe School System, joining Tuscaloosa City and Walker County schools as the only systems to designate every school in its district.

Dr. Austin Kane, a cardiologist and interim program coordinator of Alabama LifeStart, said that the designation specifically recognizes how ACS nurses created plans to educate students and staff on the importance of AEDs.

 “Congratulations to the Auburn City School System on being named a Heart Safe School System,” Kane said. “While rare, sudden cardiac death is a devastating event not only for a family, but an entire community. Many young people who die suddenly have diagnosed heart disease, but others have no prior diagnosis or symptoms. The use of an AED significantly increases a person’s chance of surviving cardiac arrest. By having cardiac emergency response plans and practicing drills, Auburn City Schools have taken the important steps to prepare for cardiac arrest and protect their students, faculty, staff and visitors.”

ACS is educating its staff, faculty and students on the proper usage of AEDs in case they ever witness a cardiac emergency at the school or in the community. With the addition of AEDs, AED trainer devices and AED training, these Heart-Safe Schools will have the knowledge, ability and resources to respond efficiently and to help save lives.

Nationwide, thousands of school-age children die from sudden cardiac arrest each year and only five to 10 percent survive without immediate treatment. An automated external defibrillator (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. Brown, working with Dr. Yung Lau and Barbara Mostella of UAB, created Alabama LifeStart to address this need. To date, every public, middle, junior and senior high school in the state is now equipped with at least one AED. Within the past two years, at least three students’ lives have been saved thanks to the quick response of school personnel who had been provided with AED equipment and AED training support from Alabama LifeStart.

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 and 42 other states last year, representing more than 684,000 outpatient visits and more than 15,000 inpatient admissions. With more than 3.5 million square feet, Children’s is one of the largest pediatric medical facilities in the United States. It is a private, not-for-profit medical center that serves as the teaching hospital for the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) pediatric medicine, surgery, psychiatry, research and residency programs. The medical staff consists of UAB faculty and Children’s of Alabama’s full-time physicians as well as private practicing community physicians.