Kiwanis and Ochsner Deploy Automated External Defibrillators (AED) to Algiers Charter Schools
NEW ORLEANS - You've seen them in airports, shopping malls, fitness centers and hospitals, but on Tuesday, October 7, at 12:00pm, at O. Perry Walker College and Career Preparatory High School and Community Center, 2832 General Meyer Ave, New Orleans, 70114, the Kiwanis Club of Algiers and Ochsner Medical Center -West Bank will announce a partnership with the Algiers Charter School Association (ACSA) to make local schools "heart-safe" by arming the region's nine (9) charter schools with automated external defibrillators (AEDs), which can jump-start a heart after sudden cardiac arrest.
"The AEDs will be tremendous assets to each school," says Andrea Duplechain, the Director of Nurses for the Algiers Charters Schools Association. "Students, teachers, and administrators are very active on school grounds, especially when playing a sport, so it makes sense to have these life-saving devices as close as possible."
Algiers Charter Schools are the first in Orleans Parish to acquire AEDs. All schools have on-site nurses who are responsible for AED training.
Sudden cardiac arrest doesn't just strike adults; it affects about 7,000 children every year, including student athletes. "Whether you're two years old or 60 years old, every second counts," says Dr. Robert Matheny, Cardiologist at Ochsner Medical Center - West Bank. "The bottom line is that with an AED and the press of a button, dedicated school personnel and committed community leaders can save a child's life."
With the backing of the American Heart Association, The Kiwanis Club and Ochsner Medical Center -West Bank are providing AEDs "at cost" to the following schools: O. Perry Walker Senior High, Harriet R. Tubman Elementary, McDonogh #32 Elementary, Edna Karr Senior High, Alice M. Harte Elementary, William J. Fischer Elementary, Dwight D. Eisenhower Elementary, Martin Behrman Elementary, and Algiers Technology Academy.
The Kiwanis Club of Algiers - Morning Edition has embarked on a major service project to place Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) in every school in this area.
"This initiative is part of a larger goal, said Gary Bair, the 2007-2008 Kiwanis Club President." "We want to place at least one AED in every school in Louisiana, Mississippi, and West Tennessee over the next several years. The Kiwanis AED Project represents a remarkable opportunity to change the world, one child and one AED at a time."
The Kiwanis AED Project is a partnership between Kiwanis and ZOLL Medical Corporation. The ZOLL AED Plus is the device chosen by Kiwanis to be placed in schools throughout the tri-state District because it represents state of the art lifesaving technology and because it's the only AED to incorporate CPR monitoring into its operations.
"Although there's no accurate count of how many people suffer cardiac arrest while on school campuses, having an AED on site will make for faster reaction and treatment, which could save the lives of a student, faculty member, or visiting parent," explains Duplechain.
Survival of cardiac arrest is linked directly to how quickly the first AED shock is delivered. According to the American Heart Association, defibrillation within three minutes of sudden cardiac arrest increases the chance of survival to 70 percent, while the national average 911-response time is six to nine minutes.
The laptop-sized ZOLL AED Plus® features Real CPR Help®, a tool that is able to actually see what you are doing and provide feedback to help you do it well. The device doesn't just deliver a shock, it also helps provide cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) through audio and visual prompts telling the operator when to push harder or faster. This device is designed to be used by properly trained teachers and administrators but can be operated by a first-time user if necessary. The device is lightweight; the size of a lunchbox, battery-operated and includes a one-piece pad for fast and accurate placement.
It's estimated that nationwide between one in 1,000 - 5,000 student athletes will experience heart problems. "In addition to having a defibrillator on hand, another effective tool in preventing a potential student tragedy is requiring all athletes to undergo a comprehensive physical exam prior to starting a sports program," says Dr. Matheny. Additional heart awareness tips for young athletes include:
- Never ignore pain or unusual sensations that occur in the chest, arm, shoulder, jaw, throat, or back, especially if these occur with exercise. These are often described as pain, indigestion, aching or pressure.
- Do not use stimulants when exercising or when performing. Many diet pills have a stimulant in them.
- It is better not to participate when you have a fever, chills and muscle aches, which are indicative of a bad cold. Coxsackie virus can be responsible for myocarditis that can precipitate cardiac arrhythmias and sudden death.
- It is important to realize that even though exercise is a healthy habit to develop, it does not make you invincible. Listen to your body. If you feel particularly bad it is probably better to not participate.
The Kiwanis Club of Algiers plans to build partnerships with local government, school districts, businesses and philanthropies to raise funds to fulfill this objective and ensure no child, teacher, or parent die needlessly. If you are interested in becoming a Kiwanis AED Partner, contact 2008-2009 Club President Stuart Gay at 504-232-2259. Kiwanis is a global organization of volunteers dedicated to changing the world, one child and one community at a time.
About the Algiers Charter School Association:
The Algiers Charter School Association, a non-profit charter school management organization, consists of nine open enrollment charter schools on the Westbank of New Orleans. Founded in 2005, the ACSA was the first to open five schools to several thousand students following Hurricane Katrina. The teachers and administrators work daily to increase student achievement throughout the Association by implementing local and national teaching based programs and strategies, such as the Teacher Advancement Program (TAP). Today, the ACSA consists of more than 5000 students and employs over 200 teachers.
About Ochsner Health System:
Ochsner Health System (www.ochsner.org) is a non-profit, academic, multi-specialty, healthcare delivery system dedicated to patient care, research and education. The system includes seven hospitals and over 35 health centers located throughout Southeast Louisiana. Ochsner employs over 600 physicians in 80 medical specialties and subspecialties and over 300 clinical research trials annually. Ochsner was ranked one of the "Best Places to Work" by New Orleans CityBusiness in 2005, 2006 and 2007 and received the Consumer Choice for Healthcare in New Orleans for 13 consecutive years. Ochsner was ranked as "Best" Hospital by U.S. News and World Report in July 2007. Ochsner has over 10,000 employees system-wide.
About Algiers Kiwanis- Morning Edition:
Kiwanis is a global organization of volunteers dedicated to changing the world one child and one community at a time. The Algiers Kiwanis Club was founded in October 1989 with 35 charter members and is now has over 70 members dedicated to serving children. The Algiers Kiwanians raise funds by working at various events such as Jazz Fest, the Annual Santa Pancake Breakfast and the Oil Field Chili Cookoff in order to support numerous charities, clubs and organizations that help and serve kids. Kiwanis, through guidance and example, works to develop future generations of leaders through their sponsored Builder's Club, Key Clubs and Circle K club. Meetings are held every Thursday morning from 7:00 until 8:00a.m. at Aurora Tennis and Swim Club, 5244 General Meyer Avenue. All members are urged to attend and guests are always welcome to enjoy the meetings and great speakers.