Youth group and American Red Cross donate defibrillators to local schools

Monday, January 30, 2006

Automatic external defibrillators can be used by anyone with a minimal amount of training to help someone whose heart has stopped. Cape Girardeau Central High School and South Elementary in Jackson now each have one. The Southeast Missouri chapter of the American Red Cross and the Junior American Red Cross/Modern Woodmen Youth group partnered to raise money for the purchase of the defibrillators, valued at $1,695 each.

Defibrillators can help when the most common cause of sudden cardiac arrest, a heart attack, occurs. Each year approximately 250,000 people die of sudden cardiac arrest in the United States.

Defibrillation is an electric shock that interrupts the heart's chaotic electrical activity, most commonly caused by an abnormal rhythm, and can restore the heart's ability to function as a pump. A victim in cardiac arrest has only a 5 percent survival rate with cardio-pulmonary resuscitation alone. If the rescuer has a defibrillator available and is trained, the victim's survival rate increases to 95 percent.

Jerie Fluchel, guidance advisor for the youth group, said this has been a vision of the Junior American Red Cross that they've worked at diligently over the past year to launch from a dream to a reality.

Sherri Brethold, American Red Cross health and safety director, said "AEDs in our schools are very important. This can result in additional lives saved in our community."

Defibrillators are available to purchase for home, business or organization. For additional information, contact the American Red Cross, 335-9471.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: