Kooser Elementary is first LPS school to receive Heart Safe designation

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Kooser Elementary School has a new designation that no other school in LPS has: It is now a Project ADAM Heart Safe designated school.

Project ADAM’s Heart Safe School Program aims to give students and staff the best possible chance to survive a cardiac emergency.

The Heart Safe designation is given to schools that have AEDs, staff with AED and CPR training, and a practiced emergency plan to respond to a person collapsing.

SEE ALSO: Lincoln Children’s Museum recognized for its cardiac emergency preparedness

Project ADAM (Automated Defibrillators in Adam’s Memory) was named for Adam Lemel, a 17-year-old Wisconsin boy who suffered a fatal sudden cardiac arrest in 1999 while playing basketball at school.

Access to an AED and immediate care could have saved Adam’s life.

Kooser is also the first Heart Safe-designated school in the state to have saved a student’s life with CPR and an AED.

Angelina Witcher, a fourth grade student, suffered a cardiac emergency in January.

Thanks to the fast action of staff at the school and Lincoln Fire & Rescue, she is alive today.

That happened before the Heart Safe designation, but that incident propelled the school to go the extra mile and get the designation.

“Back in January in January, I felt pretty happy that I was alive, and now I’m feeling really proud of this school,” Witcher said.

While CPR does help save lives in cardiac emergencies, AEDs are crucial.

“When sudden cardiac arrest happens, even if you’re doing high-quality CPR, your average survival goes down by 10% for every minute that the fibrillation is delayed,” said Dr. Matt Sorensen, a pediatric cardiologist at Children’s Hospital & Medical Center in Omaha. “So if that defibrillator isn’t present and unseen and available in about three minutes it significantly decreases the survival.”

According to the Nebraska Project Adam team, there are already 200 schools across Nebraska registered to start working toward the Heart Safe designation.

Lincoln Public Schools said it hopes that all of its schools receive this designation in the next few years.

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