Springdale Has Heart Safe Schools

All 31 Springdale schools are now designated as Heart Safe Schools through the Project ADAM sudden cardiac arrest response program.

“It just shows that safety is one of our No. 1 priorities,” said Amy SchultzSpringdale Public Schools nursing director.

Project ADAM is a national organization committed to saving lives through advocacy, education, preparedness and collaboration to prevent sudden cardiac death, according to the nonprofit’s website. The organization was established in 1999 in honor of Adam Lemel, who was 17 when he suffered a sudden cardiac arrest and died while playing junior varsity basketball in Whitefish Bay, Wis. On-site defibrillation may have saved the student-athlete’s life.

It was important for Springdale Schools to have consistent building safety in support of all students and staff, Schultz said..

“We want every building to have the same safety precautions and the same preparedness in place,” she said. “It adds a layer of preparedness in every school.”

Gaining the designation includes creating a school preparedness assessment to build a school’s response team and to enhance response efforts. The assessment is then used to develop an emergency response plan and to strategically recruit and train a school’s Medical Emergency Response Team.

Team roles include designated staff members to call 911, meet emergency responders, conduct chest compressions and deliver airway care, said Charles WooleyArkansas Children’s Heart Institute Project ADAM coordinator.

“Springdale is fortunate to have some of the best emergency medical services in the state, as well as access to Arkansas Children's,” Wooley added. “Thanks to all the hard work by the nurses and staff, there is a plan and a team in place at each school, raising the level of preparedness to match.”

Springdale’s efforts to earn the Heart Safe School designation for all its schools may result in lifesaving care during a cardiac crisis, Wooley said. The response teams are able to react to a cardiac emergency anywhere on campus in under 60 seconds and to have an AED ready to administer electricity in three minutes.

An AED, or automated external defibrillator, is a medical device that delivers an electric shock to correct an abnormal rhythm of a heart, according to the American Heart Association.

“The chance of survival of sudden cardiac arrest decreases by 10% every minute a victim does not receive CPR and defibrillation with an AED,” Wooley said. “To have a Heart Safe designation means your school staff has a written plan, a response team and ultimately that high-quality CPR can be started."

There are 138 Heart Safe Schools in Arkansas, he said.

Additional school districts to have all Heart Safe schools include the Little Rock, Siloam Springs, Gentry, Searcy, McGehee, Concord and Melbourne school districts, he said.

View all of Springdale's Heart Safe schools HERE.