Sudden Cardiac Arrest & CPR: HPS Resources

Jan. 9, 2023.  Last week's sudden collapse of Buffalo Bills Safety Damar Hamlin was a frightening reminder that Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) can happen at anytime; including at a nationally-televised football game witnessed by millions of viewers.  We are all grateful to his family for allowing each of us to follow his daily progress and to help us learn more about what each of us can do to help.

The American Heart Association states that early recognition of cardiac arrest improves the person’s chance of survival and is key to starting the correct care of CPR and the appropriate use of defibrillation to restart the heart.  CPR can help keep the heart pumping and blood flowing to vital organs until an electrical shock from a defibrillator is available to restore the heart to a normal heart rhythm.

Experts tell us that recognition and response are key to helping save someone's life.  Recognizing a potential life-threatening emergency and responding by calling "911" right away are the most important steps lay responders can take.  Dispatchers can coach us through the steps to take while we wait for Emergency Response Personnel to arrive and take over; including bringing the Automated External Defibrillator (AED) to the scene.  The American Heart Association promotes "Hands Only CPR" with this easy-to-learn Hands Only CPR You Tube Video (scroll to see 1 1/2 minute video) with easy to remember steps:  Call 911/Get the AED and Push Hard/Push Fast.

Here at Hatfield Public Schools, we are fortunate to have the ongoing support of the Hatfield Fire Department and the Hatfield Police Department to support ongoing emergency preparedness efforts in the schools.  Thanks to grants from HFD, the State Dept. of Public Health, and a private donor, there are now 7 AEDs with AEDs strategically placed at both schools.  Smith Academy Coaches trained in CPR/AED bring additional AEDs to practices and games to assure prompt access when needed.  35 staff are currently certified in CPR/AED including 12 Educational Support Staff Professionals who also recently completed First Aid Training.  Also, all staff complete a brief review of recognizing and responding to sudden illness and significant injury events as a part of their annual Professional Development Day Training at the beginning of each school year.  Older students at Smith Academy continue to be introduced to AED use and basic CPR as a valuable life skill.

Despite these efforts, we know that we as a School Community can always do more.  We will continue to offer courses to all staff and to seek ways to partner with the community at large to promote and support CPR/AED/First Aid skills training for everyone because we never know the moment when an emergency may occur.  The best we can do is to be prepared.