Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Here’s another way Virginia Beach public schools are keeping students safe

AEDs will be in all of Norfolk Police Department patrol vehicles. (Southside Daily/courtesy of Pixabay)
AEDs are available in all Virginia Beach Public School buildings. (Southside Daily/courtesy of Pixabay)

VIRGINIA BEACH — The school district is constantly working to keep its students safe and officials are doing more than evaluating outside threats to student safety.

They’re keeping them safe from health threats as well.

All elementary, middle and high schools in the Virginia Beach City Public Schools have AEDs, and they’ve had them since 2006, said Steve LePock II, risk manager for the department of Budget and Finance.

“Schools serve as central gathering points within the community,” LePock said. “Whether it is parents attending a school play or everyone in town attending a basketball or football game, school facilities regularly attract large numbers of people for extended periods of time.”

LePock said he initiated the AED program because he felt having them in school buildings was in the best interest of the community.

In addition to the AEDs that each school has, the middle and high schools also have a second AED for after-school student activities located in the gym area, said Sondra Woodward, a Virginia Beach City Public Schools spokeswoman.

What are AEDs

An AED, or automated external defibrillator, is an electronic medical device than can check a person’s heart rhythm, according to the American Heart Association.

The cost of one is roughly $1,500 to $2,000 based on make and model which is noted in an information packet provided by the school district.

The city was influential in helping the school district select the type of AEDs, and district officials chose the exact make and model the city uses, LePock said.

CLARIFICATION (Aug. 22, 2019 — 3:08 p.m.): The city was influential in helping the school district select the type of AEDs, and district officials initially chose the same model the city used before switching manufacturers to Phillips Heartstart in 2014.

“It will save precious seconds if we are ever performing a ‘save’ at one of our schools and the city’s EMS shows up, enabling a smooth transition while unplugging our AED and plugging in their AED and keeping the pads on the patient,” LePock said.

Initially the AEDs were bought through a grant program in 2006 — it’s unclear if replacements are part of the district’s annual budget.

Using an AED

The American Heart Association notes AEDs are very accurate and easy to use.

AEDs can not only check a person’s heart rhythm but it can recognize a rhythm that needs a shock and can advise the rescuer when a shock is needed.

The AED uses voice prompts, lights and text messages to tell the rescuer the steps to take, according to information from the American Heart Association.

The American Heart Association also recommends people be trained how to use an AED as part of their CPR AED training.

All teachers in the state of Virginia as part of their teaching license are required to have taken an emergency first aid course, a hands-on CPR course and AED training, according to the Virginia Department of Education.

To learn more about training and how to enroll in a class, click here.

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