Project ADAM prepares school staff for medical emergencies

Published: May. 18, 2022 at 8:01 AM CDT
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HENDERSONVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - Sumner County teachers and staff are preparing to handle a worst-case health emergency.

A team of five staff members here at Ellis Middle School practice their emergency response plan for a sudden cardiac arrest.

“If it’s chaotic and people are panicked and the AED doesn’t arrive, you’re losing minutes and for every minute of delay,” explained Angel Carter, the program’s coordinator. “Their chance of survival goes down by 10 percent.”

Carter is the program coordinator for Middle Tennessee’s Project ADAM, which provides free life-saving training and guides school staff in Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and Automated external defibrillators (AED) drills.

The program is provided through the Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.

“What I stress,” Carter said. “…is the AED arriving in under 2 minutes and having the shock no later than 3 minutes to the victim.”

Ellis Middle School is one of 326 Midstate schools earning a “heart safe” designation. Out of 41 Midstate counties, 23 are “heart safe” county school districts, 9 are working toward getting all their schools designated heart safe, and nine counties have yet to implement the program.

“If there’s a situation where a child’s life is in danger or a faculty member’s life is in danger,” Carter said. “I don’t want to just sit around and twist my hands and go ‘oh no, what should we do,’ I want to be prepared.”

Funding for AEDs is improving for schools, but Carter says several schools need more than the one defibrillator required by the state and that money is often hard for schools to raise.

If you’d like to contribute or for more information on becoming a heart safe school, visit the Project ADAM website, here.

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