St Vincent de Paul School Receives Heart Safe School Accreditation

St. Vincent de Paul School in Mount Vernon, Ohio recently became the first parochial school in the nation to receive the Heart Safe School Accreditation.

The accreditation, a collaborative effort between the Sudden Arrhythmia Death Syndromes (SADS) Foundation, the Fairfield Medical Center (FMC) Gordon B. Snider Cardiovascular Institute and the Snider Community Heart Watch at FMC, is granted to schools that meet specific criteria designed to ensure the safety of students and staff who may experience sudden cardiac arrest. The criteria include:

  • Pediatric sudden cardiac arrest risk assessments
  • Care plans for students with a cardiac medical diagnosis
  • Medical emergency response drills
  • Automated external defibrillators (AEDs) available throughout the school
  • CPR trained staff to student ratio of 1:50 or better
  • CPR instruction provided to students as part of the curriculum
  • Education on sudden cardiac arrest in youth provided annually

Bob Williams, manager of cardiovascular services at FMC, said it has been very encouraging to see the growth of the Heart Safe School Accreditation program over the past year.

“What started as a pilot program locally has now expanded to a community an hour away,” he said. “We are excited about the continued interest from schools, not only in Ohio, but in other states. It is terrific to see communities recognize the need to better prepare in responding to a person experiencing sudden cardiac arrest.”

During the accreditation process, Knox Community Hospital in Mount Vernon provided free training for St. Vincent de Paul staff and the school’s eighth graders. Martha Downs, principal of St. Vincent de Paul School, said the school also received support from the Knights of Columbus Mount Vernon Council 847, which helped with the purchase of a new AED for the school and one for St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church through FMC’s AED Public Access Program. Through the program, AEDs can be purchased at well below retail price.

Downs said it’s important for schools to achieve the Heart Safe School Accreditation for one simple reason - it could help save lives.

“Through this process, the faculty and staff have discovered students who have had serious heart procedures and others with some significant medical conditions in which care plans were devised, making those students and the whole community safer,” she said.

The FMC Gordon B. Snider Institute was formed in 2010 and the Heart Safe School Accreditation was developed in 2012. Seven schools have received the Heart Safe School Accreditation, including two in Lancaster and four in Pickerington. For more information about the Heart Safe School Accreditation, call (740) 689-6893.

Tags: heart health,