WhidbeyHealth donates AED to Oak Harbor High School athletic department

The Oak Harbor High School athletic department was granted an Automated External Defibrillator by WhidbeyHeath Emergency Services.

Oak Harbor Athletic Director Jerrod Fleury asked Roger Meyers, manager of WhidbeyHealth EMS, if he could provide the school with an AED to accompany teams traveling off campus.

“Undiagnosed heart disease in otherwise ‘apparently healthy’ kids accounts for the No. 1 killer, unnecessarily, of school-aged athletes,” according to a press release from Robert May, lead paramedic/public education coordinator for Whidbey Health EMS. “One in 250 kids screened are found to have an undiagnosed cardiac condition that requires follow-up.

“For those instances when there are no AEDs in a sports complex, then the next best option is to have one travel with the team.”

May said that people are now being trained to locate the nearest AED and hemorrhage-control first aid equipment just like they routinely check for the nearest second exit or fire extinguisher.

“To accomplish our goal of decreasing unnecessary death and disability from sudden cardiac arrest for children and adults, we will continue to grant AEDs to organizations and communities up and down Whidbey Island,” May said.

Darla Varrenti of the Nick of Time Foundation said, through the press release, that “many adults don’t recognize cardiac arrest when a kid collapses.”

“They stand by and watch when what they should be doing is starting CPR, having someone call 911 and finding an AED,” she added. “Young people don’t have to die doing something they love when three simple steps can be used to increase survival.”

Varrenti said the Nick of Time Foundation appreciates its partnership with WhidbeyHealth EMS and the two organizations share a common goal of saving lives by preventing sudden cardiac arrest among children and young adults.

“We accomplish this by working together to increase awareness and education about SCA and how it affects young people every day in our communities,” Varrenti said.

WhidbeyHealth EMS purchased the AED with funds gifted through employee and community donations.

Fleury said the school is deeply appreciative of the generous donation and WhidbeyHealth’s continued support of the school district.