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AED and CPR Best Practices at Polk County Schools

AED and CPR Best Practices at Polk County Schools


    Training is Always in Session at Polk County Schools   

by Monica Krizen


Having experienced two events using their AEDs in which employees’ lives were saved, Polk County Schools   understand first-hand the importance and benefits of incorporating an AED program alongside their Emer- gency Response Plan.

Overseeing certification renewals   and training responders so they are familiar with possible emergencies and   equipment is an important part of any emergency response plan. In an emergency situation, equipment and responders   need to be ready in an instant. Polk County Schools make training a priority.



Connie Shimko, registered nurse and Polk County Schools AED District Coordinator, oversees the AED pro-gram in Polk County Schools. “Our AEDs must remain emergency ready at all times,”   Shimko said. With 160 FRx AEDs throughout the county, one in every school or facility, and a minimum of four trained responders at each location, this is no easy task.

Overseeing an AED program the size  of Polk County schools requires procedures to keep AEDs maintained and   employees trained so they are ready in the event of an emergency.

At the schools, facility or office building, AEDs are kept in a central location and accessible to staff. Each school or facility’s AED coordinator is responsible for verifying daily that the AED’s green light is flashing to ensure it is ready for use. Each semester, the expiration dates of pads, batteries and the first aid kit are checked and reported to Ms. Shimko who maintains a database of the status of all AED expiration dates and maintenance.

In the school setting, the front office is the central location for all information. For this reason, staff   members are directed to call the front office during an emergency. The front   office then contacts Emergency Services.

Regardless of the nature of the   emergency, the AED and first aid kit are always taken to the scene. Polk   County Schools require two respond- ers to the site of any emergency which   would include the clinic nurse and/or emergency response member. Trained responders are instructed to take care of the victim until Emergency Services arrives.

Ms. Shimko also coordinates the   training of over 600 employees. Ensuring employees know how to respond is   vital to the success of any emergency response plan.  Although   certifications are renewed every two years and employees participate in   realistic training scenarios, “People are shocked at how different seeing a   person go into cardiac arrest is from their training,” Shimko said. It is   important that responders be pre-pared.

To recreate a real-life emergency,   Ms. Shimko uses Prestan CPR training manikins and Philips FRx AED purchased from Altra Medical.

Trainers in realistic scenarios such as placing the manikins near desks with knocked over chairs as if they suffered  from sudden cardiac arrest and fell into that position. Simulations like   these mimic more realistic situations that responders may encounter in the school setting. “We bought 21 new Prestan manikins for everyone in the class.   It is phenomenal! These manikins let you know if you are doing it right,” Shimko said.  


Philips FRx Trainer

Since people often become over-whelmed in emergency situations, the  Philips and Prestan training equipment allows for practice, as well as   accuracy. With the Philips AED’s CPR metronome keeping the rhythm of   compressions and Prestan manikin’s design, which lights up to tell the user   when compressions are fast enough and audibly cues users when compressions   are deep enough, trained responders know exactly what to do. Shimko   explained, “You have to push hard and fast. Focusing on the Philips trainer   helps. I was so pleased that we chose Philips and Prestan.”



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