When you think of the people typically affected by heart attacks, students aren't usually on the list.
But administrators in the Colquitt County school system say it's this age bracket -- young children through teens -- who are often overlooked for heart problems.
Suzanne Sumner is the nurse coordinator for Colquitt County schools and says, "Sometimes children are born with congenital heart defects that go unnoticed ... and there's no way to really detect it until they actually have a problem."
Enter Project S.A.V.E., or 'Sudden Cardiac Death Awareness Vision for Prevention', a collaborative effort in Colquitt County schools to 'promote prevention of sudden cardiac death in school-age children and teens.'
Through the initiative, each school in the Colquitt County system has at least one Automatic External Defibrillator, or AED, to use in the event that a staff member, student, or visitor goes into cardiac arrest.
Keena Milligan, a registered nurse at R.B. Wright Elementary School in Moultrie, explains: "In an emergency situation, one minute seems like ten minutes, so to be able to get the AED machine here now gives us all a little more of a sense of safety."
Holly Lewis is the Health and P.E. Teacher at R.B. Wright -- and also a member of the team of staff trained to use the machine.
Says Lewis, "[The school has] a program on Fridays where we bring in a lot of adults ... and we have grandparents that come to watch the children ... and if somebody was to ever have a heart attack, we at least have [the AED] here."
People say they're glad the schools are well-equipped for a situation which there'd be 'heart'ly any warning.
For more information about the AED, or to sign up to become certified in using the machine, log on to www.redcross.com.
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