Thursday, October 15, 2020
Milwaukee Public Schools is celebrating AEDs! Automated external defibrillators, also known as AEDs, are portable devices capable of starting a person’s heart during an episode such as a heart attack. MPS has now had AEDs in schools for 15 years.
AEDs are easy to use and can be operated with little or no training. Since AEDs have been placed in MPS schools, nine lives have been saved—two children and seven adults, including one in 2019.
MPS placed AEDs in schools through the HeartSafe Schools program. The program, in partnership with Children's Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Fire Department, and Project ADAM, places AEDs, trains school staff, and offers drills to keep schools prepared for emergencies.
In 2005, the first AEDs in MPS were installed at Bradley Tech and Washington High Schools, the only locations with full-time nurses. Within two years, with assistance from the Wisconsin Masonic Foundation and other fundraising efforts, AEDs were placed in every MPS school. MPS currently has 225 AEDs throughout the district, with at least one in each of 156 school sites.
MPS Superintendent Dr. Keith P. Posley, along with representatives from MPS, Children's Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Masonic Foundation, and Project ADAM, held a celebration on October 15 to talk about this important anniversary.
“AEDs are critical for our students and also our adults, whether they’re staff or
community members,” Posley said. “For years, MPS and our partners have worked together to lead the nation with trained staff and AEDs to help respond quickly to cardiac arrest. AEDs are a part of the MPS culture and have proven to save lives within our district.”
In MPS, 22 CPR/AED instructors provide training to Code Blue teams, the name for first
responders in the school setting. Every year, at least 70 CPR classes are provided to MPS staff, and the school Code Blue team leaders run at least four drills per school year to monitor reaction time and increase chances of survival. All MPS safety officers are also certified via the Heart Saver CPR/AED Program.
The goal for MPS is to have all sites designated as HeartSafe Schools, meaning a cardiac plan is in place and a knowledgeable team of community members and
professional staff are ready to respond with up-to-date equipment. AEDs for MPS cost just under $700 for a new unit and around $150 to maintain per school year. From the program's inception until now, the Wisconsin Masonic Foundation has provided the funds to replace 23 aging-out AEDs in MPS buildings. Currently, 195 AEDs are aging out and will need replacement.
The MPS HeartSafe Schools program has been represented at multiple nationalconferences as a model of a high-quality AED program in an urban school district.