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Posted: June 7, 2014 10:00 p.m.

Livingston Elementary named Heart Safe School

Livingston Elementary School is officially good for the heart.

The Newton County school earned a “Heart Safe School” designation, an implementation facilitated by the school’s principal, Shari Thomas, and nurse Martha Arnold.

The school-wide program began as a way to potentially help save the life of a student, if needed.

Project SAVE (Sudden Cardiac Death: Awareness, Vision for Prevention and Education) was created to educate school systems on sudden cardiac death, making personnel aware of incidences and the need for a timely response to help save a life.

Heart function failure affects 600 to 1,000 children and adolescents and 350,000 adults every year in the United States. In the past five school years, at least 15 students and 12 adults have died from probable sudden cardiac arrest in Georgia schools.

Since December 2007, there have been 36 saves in the state. Thirteen students and 23 adults are alive today because their school personnel were prepared and had practiced their medical emergency response.

“It is our goal to have every school in our district certified as a Heart-Safe School,” said RaNae Fendley, director of student services for the Newton County School System (NCSS). “Congratulations to Livingston Elementary School for earning this very important certification.”

Schools that complete the checklist for Project SAVE indicate their school has a quality automated external defibrillator (AED) implementation program in place to prevent sudden cardiac death. These schools are recognized by Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta as Heart-Safe Schools.

Heart-Safe Schools participate in statewide and national research about cardiac death prevention by completing a confidential incident report, according to an NCSS press release. The report is sent to Project SAVE staff whenever an AED is used in an emergency. Project SAVE then replaces the AED or reimburses the school for the AED electrode pads.

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