Schools making an effort to recognize cardiac emergencies

Heart attacks are most commonly thought of as a risk in older age groups.

Michigan’s Departments of Community Health and Education are trying to raise awareness of the risk for younger people and taking steps to assure that schools are prepared for cardiac emergencies.

Dr. Matthew Davis, the Chief Medical Executive for the MDCH, said there are many cardiac emergency resources available in community settings, but not often in schools.

“Although cardiac arrest is less common in young athletes, responding quickly with CPR, AED and calling for help with 911, can make the difference between life and death for a young person,” Davis said.

The MI HEARTSafe school program has been launched to teach proper precautions for handling a cardiac emergency.

Medical officials say the program is designed to help schools respond quickly and effectively when a student’s heart stops beating.

Davis said there are five links to the chain of survival that are the focus of MI HEARTSafe.

“The five links are cardiac arrest and calling 911, responding rapidly, CPR by a person, using an AED, giving advanced life support when the emergency team arrives and getting the appropriate care right after the rescue happens,” said Davis.

Davis said the goal for MI HEARTSafe is to educate schools on how to respond appropriately with the resources at the scene.

He said the program is meant to build off of what schools are currently doing for these emergencies, and for what few schools are doing altogether.