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Michigan Launches New Program to Recognize Schools Prepared for Cardiac Emergencies

Contact: Angela Minicuci 517-241-2112

For Immediate Release: November 7, 2013

LANSING – The Michigan Departments of Community Health (MDCH), and Education (MDE), along with the Michigan Alliance for Prevention of Sudden Cardiac Death of the Young and the American Heart Association (AHA) have launched a new program called MI HEARTSafe Schools, to recognize Michigan schools that are prepared for cardiac emergencies.

“Cardiac arrest is often an unexpected, frightening event that can happen at any age, and is something that is being discussed more frequently,” said Dr. Matthew Davis, Chief Medical Executive with the MDCH. “Implementation of CPR and an automated external defibrillator (AED) within 3-5 minutes is critical for increasing the chance of survival for victims of cardiac arrest. To be ready for such emergencies, preparation and practice are key.”

Between 1999 and 2009 in Michigan, there were 3,134 young individuals between 1 and 39 years of age who died of sudden cardiac death. Of those, 246 were between 5 and 19 years of age. The AHA recommends the ‘Chain of Survival’ method to increase the chance of survival for victims of cardiac arrest. Five important links in the chain include: early recognition of a cardiac arrest and calling 9-1-1; rapid response with CPR; use of an AED; advanced life support; and post-cardiac care. MI HEARTSafe Schools will be recognized by MDCH, MDE and AHA as prepared to initiate the ‘Chain of Survival’ after ensuring staff is trained, equipment is in place, and ready for use in the event of a cardiac emergency.

“MDE is proud to support MI HEARTSafe schools,” said State Superintendent, Mike Flanagan. “Ensuring schools are prepared for sudden cardiac emergencies through planning, training, and AEDs is an important part of safety for students, staff, and the community.”

In order for a school to receive a MI HEARTSafe designation they must perform at least one cardiac emergency response drill per year; have a written medical emergency response plan and team; have current CPR/AED certification of at least 10 percent of staff; have accessible, properly maintained and inspected AEDs with signs identifying their location; and ensure pre-participation sports screening of all student athletes using the current physical and history form endorsed by the Michigan High School Athletic Association.

Schools interested in receiving the MI HEARTSafe designation can complete an application at MI HEARTSafe Schools will know how to recognize a sudden cardiac arrest and respond quickly by calling 9-1-1 and using CPR and an AED until emergency response arrives. The first MI HEARTSafe Schools will be recognized at the end of the 2013/2014 academic year. For more information about the new MI HEARTSafe Schools program, visit

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