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Marion County Schools lead the way with Life-Saving Devices at all schools

A recent report with the Tennessee News Service out of Nashville states that not all Tennessee employers or, most importantly, schools have life-saving devices in place meant to provide help in a cardiac emergency when just precious minutes matter so much before paramedics arrive.

While not all businesses in Marion County have these devices; several do. Including some area retailers, restaurants, and government offices. But most important to note..these devices and other safeguards are in place at every one of the Marion County Board of Education’s schools in the county.

According to Marion County Schools Health Services Director Lori Case, R.N., “The school district has an AED device located at each of the district’s nine schools, in the school’s gymnasium.”

“In addition, AED devices are also located at the system’s Alternative School building, adjacent to Marion County High School, and at the district’s Central Office building in Jasper,” Case said.

Case says the school system implemented the devices in 2010 and chose to purchase the Phillips “HeartStart” devices to go in each school. Each year she holds CPR certification classes with teachers and employees in the district to go over basic CPR training and explain and teach how to properly use the device.

Also, each school and location in the district have their own response team that maintains CPR certification and is ready to jump into action should the need arise for the AED to be used.

This is should come as comforting news to parents given the American Heart Association says even though there are about 10,000 cardiac arrests in the workplace each year, most employers are not at all prepared to render assistance.

Paramedic and owner of Advanced Professional Healthcare Education Adam Fritsch says even if a business has an Automated External Defibrillator, or AED, available, a lot of employees would be afraid to use it – although they shouldn’t be.

“Not at all,” he insists. “Most AEDs today, especially the newer models, have only two buttons on them. It’s as simple as pushing the “on” button to turn the machine on, and then just follow the prompts for what it tells you to do. It will walk you entirely through the process.”

Tennessee has a Good Samaritan law in place that protects owners of AEDs and those who use them from liability for any unintentional medical harm.

Fritsch says there are a number of myths surrounding AEDs that can make people hesitate to use one to help a stricken fellow employee. Sometimes people are afraid they’ll make a mistake and do more harm.

“The reality with the AED is, you can’t hurt a person with it,” he notes. “If you put it on a person and they don’t need the shock, the AED will tell you not to deliver the shock, whereas, if it does tell you to shock, that person must be having a cardiac emergency and must need that shock.”

The American Heart Association says an AED can literally save lives, and encourages employers and employees to learn how to use one.

In addition to having an AED device available at each of the district’s schools, Case says that each school has stock EpiPens (epinephrine auto-injector) in case a student suffers anaphylaxis – a serious allergic reaction which can be deadly. The pre-filled EpiPen injector can be used in an emergency to prevent symptoms from worsening while waiting for paramedics to arrive.

The Marion County School district includes nine schools — South Pittsburg High School, South Pittsburg Elementary, Marion County High School, Jasper Elementary, Jasper Middle School, Whitwell High School, Whitwell Middle, Whitwell Elementary, and Monteagle Elementary; in addition to Central Prep Academy in Jasper, which houses alternative school classes for the the district.

Reported by: Jennifer Flaxcomb Kilgore
Email: Jennifer@MarionCountyMessenger.com

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