KANAWHA COUNTY, WV (WOWK) – A recent medical emergency in Putnam County has put life-saving devices in schools at the top of people’s minds.
Eight-year-old Gryffin Cavender from Scott Teays Elementary School is recovering after going through cardiac arrest this week. Fortunately, the school had an automated external defibrillator, also known as an AED.
Kanawha County and Cabell County Schools have an AED in all their schools, and at least one person trained to operate it.
Across the region, not every school has an AED. A study found that 82% of schools that don’t have one attribute price as a reason. New ones can cost between $1,500 and $2,000.
Sean Richardson is a trained AED operator and the CEO of CPR Lifesaving Inc. He says having an AED in the building can greatly improve someone’s chances of surviving a cardiac arrest.
“A person who is experiencing cardiac arrest is in real trouble,” Richardson said. “After ten minutes, the survival rate is very low. Recognition of the emergency and quick action certainly makes a difference.”
AEDs now provide voice prompts, which provide step-by-step instructions on how to handle cardiac arrest situations.
“Everybody counts and we want to save as many lives as we can, and particularly when we talk about school children,” Richardson said. “The best way to do that is to keep them alive, and if they should go into cardiac arrest, regardless of sport or happenstance, the AED partners with the human as a robot to greatly increase the survival chances of anyone who experiences cardiac arrest.”
In West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky, it is required that all school events or sporting events have an AED on-site, and an emergency plan in place in case of cardiac arrest.