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City schools to receive defibrillators

Between 250,000 and 450,000 people

in the United States die each year from cardiac arrest.

Unfortunately, most of those deaths take place outside the walls of a hospital and many die because life-saving defibrillators are not available at the time of their problem.

Ironton City Schools will soon have at least one Automated External Defibrillator (AED) in each of its buildings and will soon have staff trained to use the devices.

School nurses Laura Gleichauf and Annette Scott, both certified American Heart Association CPR instructors, secured the grants to pay for the devices and are conducting training seminars with volunteers at each building.

"We have students, teachers with cardiac problems," Scott said. "We hope we never have to use the skills we’re learning but if we do, we’re trained."

The AEDs were paid for through two grants, one from the Ohio Schools AED Program

and the other from the Foundation for the Tri-State Community.

Gleichauf said she is pleased with the response from the staff at all the schools: although only five volunteers are needed at each building to train to use the AEDs, Gleichauf said many more have offered to take the training. She is also pleased with the encouragement from school administration.

"Both our superintendent (Dean Nance) and assistant superintendent (Bill Dresel) have been very good about helping us. When we ran into brick walls getting funding, they would suggest someone else we could talk to," she said.

Funding had been a major sticking point in getting the AEDs. The district did not have the money to buy the devices outright. Gleichauf and Scott actually started two years ago trying to get grants for their project.

"There will be one AED in each building except for the junior high and senior high. Since the building is so large we’re putting two at the junior high and senior high and an extra one at the high school," Scott said.

Gleichauf said in the end, the satisfaction of knowing a life can be saved will be worth that two-year effort.

"Our objective is to raise the standard of care for our students and for others."