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Piece about automated external defibrillator placement program.

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Local Schools Prepare to Save More Lives

High school

New Trier High School, Loyola Academy, and Deerfield Public School District 109 are leading the way on the North Shore by being better prepared for cardiac emergencies. They have all placed Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) on their campuses.

New Trier has three AEDs on each of their two campuses. Ken Maziarka, Dean of Students at Loyola Academy, said that he and his staff decided to get their AEDs after a close call with a student emergency last year.

District 109 is one of the first districts in the country to implement an AED program at the grammar school level as well.

Healthcare distributor WorldPoint Inc, based in Wheeling, assisted all three schools with the placement of their AEDs. WorldPoint, in partnership with the American Heart Association, has participated in AHA's national campaign to educate school administrators, athletic coaches, nurses, and parents about the risk of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) at school—and how to best prepare for these emergencies.

"Events such as the incident with the student in Buffalo Grove, have brought this issue to the forefront locally," said John Amato, president of WorldPoint. "We wanted to bring school officials together to get their insight about how to help other schools place AEDs and incorporate CPR training into their PE curriculum." Amato continued: "Sudden cardiac arrest can strike anyone, anytime—teachers and young people can both be at risk. As the parent of two student athletes, this is an issue that personally concerns me."

AED life support rescue

Firefighter and EMT Tim Capua, who headed up the AED training for Loyola Academy, explained: "Average response time for paramedics is 10 to 12 minutes, which means by the time we can get to a location, a person has a 8% or less chance of surviving sudden cardiac arrest. But if there is an AED onsite, survival rates can go up to over 80%."

The AHA reports that 220,000 Americans die each year from sudden cardiac arrest, and most deaths occur in public settings, outside of a medical environment. AED defibrillation is the only treatment for sudden cardiac arrest, and, today it's easier than ever to train lay rescuers.

As Father Robert Bueter, S.J., former principal of St. Ignatius High School, said: "You do not want to get a phone call from a parent who says 'My daughter died because your school didn't have an AED and couldn't respond.' "


The American Heart Association has developed a program for schools that makes it easy for students to learn life-saving techniques. Their Heartsaver CPR in the Schools program offers multiple teaching models, including teacher and peer-ro-peer training. "In many ways, teens are better at this than we are," said Capua. "They are absorbing new information all day in school and are open to new ideas." Barb Cooke, editor of 'The Parent Teen Connection' (, agreed: "Empowering kids is the key. They are interested, and want to help people."

Administrators and parents who want more information about AEDs in schools can call The American Heart Association or WorldPoint at (847) 465-3200. Said Cooke: "With the high incidence of heart disease, these are a necessity, not an option."