All Schools Earn the Heart Safe School Designation

All Schools in the WAWM School District Earn Heart Safe School Designation
Posted on 09/26/2018
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Beginning this year, every student, staff member, and visitor to the West Allis-West Milwaukee School District has a better chance of surviving a cardiac arrest.  

The District has been working with Project ADAM, a program sponsored by Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and Herma Heart Institute, to implement a comprehensive plan to identify and respond to sudden cardiac death.  As a result, each school in the District has been recognized as a Heart Safe School.

“Project ADAM (Automated Defibrillators in Adam’s Memory) started in memory of Adam Lemel, a 17-year-old Whitefish Bay, WI, high school student who collapsed and died while playing basketball at school,” explains District Nurse, Marla Blom.  “Project ADAM is a national, non-profit organization committed to saving lives through advocacy, education, preparedness and collaboration to prevent sudden cardiac death.”

The Heart Safe School designation indicates to the public that staff is trained and prepared to respond to a cardiac emergency.  A Heart Safe District Designation also includes placement of an
Automated External Defibrillator (AED) within the school.  AEDs are safe and easy to use, making it possible for non-medical personnel to provide rapid defibrillation for victims of all ages.

“We have focused on the implementation of cardiac emergency response plans with CPR/AED drills and we’ve educated staff on the warning signs, response and prevention of sudden cardiac death,” adds Blom.

According to the American Heart Association, the incidence of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest is 326,200 with an average survival rate of 10.6% (American Heart Association Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics 2015 Update).  Approximately 20 percent of a community is in its schools on any given day, including students, teachers, staff and family members.

A sudden cardiac arrest is a condition in which abnormal heart rhythms cause the heart’s electrical impulses to suddenly become chaotic.  Defibrillation, which delivers an electric shock to the heart, is the only known treatment to stop this chaotic electrical activity. For every minute defibrillation is delayed, the victim’s chances of survival decreases by 7 to 10 percent.

For more information about Project ADAM and how to achieve the Heart Safe Designation, please contact Tracie Haugen, Project ADAM Coordinator,