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With Upgraded AEDs Across Campus, St. Margaret’s Remains Committed to School Cardiac Safety

St. Margaret's has 23 AEDs across its campus, part of the school's commitment to the health and well-being of all Tartans. 
They are all over, installed across St. Margaret’s campus in strategic locations for quick access. Alongside them, across all divisions of the school, are professional community members trained to use them. 
A commitment to the health and well-being of all Tartans extends even to proper preparation for worst-case scenarios. While St. Margaret’s has long had automated external defibrillators (AEDs) on campus as a health and safety measure, the school upgraded their AEDs and added even more throughout the campus this fall.
An AED is an easy-to-use medical device to help those experiencing cardiac arrest. It can analyze the heart’s rhythm and, if needed, deliver an electrical shock to help the heart re-establish an effective rhythm.
California law requires schools with interscholastic athletics to have at least one AED on campus. St. Margaret’s has 23.  
“When you combine our AED installation along with our annual cardiac screening event and required CPR training for all employees, St. Margaret’s is certainly at the forefront of campus cardiac safety,” said Patrick Bendzick, executive director of community health and athletics at St. Margaret’s. 
Cardiac health among young people has made headlines recently following the National Football League’s on-field medical emergency of Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin, whose heartbeat was restored by life-saving measures including CPR and AED intervention during a Monday Night Football game. While such incidents are extremely rare, the quick response of the Buffalo Bills’ medical staff showed that proper preparation and training can save a life. 
Such preparation has long been important to St. Margaret’s. The school has taken many steps over the years to promote cardiac health, including hosting an annual cardiac screening event each summer for Tartan families. The recent upgrade to Stryker LIFEPAK CR2 AEDs is just the latest.
The upgrade and expansion of AEDs at St. Margaret’s was overseen by the Health Center, including school nurses Emma Perry and Lauren Wood. The AEDs are Wi-Fi enabled to self-monitor and ensure their continuous readiness, with the Health Center being notified if any AED is offline.  
The devices are strategically spread out across campus. There are stationary AEDs installed at the Welcome Center, in the Church, outside the Health Center, outside the Campaigne Center, and outside Pasternack Field House. There’s one outside the Performing Arts Center, one on the athletics shed adjacent to Tartan Field, and one adjacent to the Middle School south stairwell, among other locations. The outdoor locations ensure their availability even after hours when indoor spaces may be locked. 
In addition, St. Margaret’s has several AEDs for on-the-go needs. St. Margaret’s security team has three, athletic trainer Dave Tomlinson keeps one in his bag, and the emergency backpacks that accompany students to field trips and athletic events have them. Each school nurse has a bag they can quickly grab to tend to a medical situation on campus, and they each contain an AED. 
The AEDs are very user-friendly by design, so even bystanders with no training can use them effectively. Nevertheless, St. Margaret’s has prioritized training for such emergencies. All full-time professional community members are required to be CPR-certified every two years. As part of that training, they do a hands-on demonstration of CPR and AED devices using mannequins.
“During a cardiac emergency, every second counts,” Mr. Bendzick said. “Our professional community has been supportive and invested in our efforts and training in the name of cardiac health. Such incidents are extremely rare, but we want to be prepared.”
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