All RCS schools recognized for cardiac preparedness by state

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published January 9, 2018

ROCHESTER — All 21 schools across the Rochester Community Schools district have been awarded the MI HEARTSafe School designation, which recognizes schools that are prepared to respond to cardiac emergencies.

Michigan Public Act 12 of 2014 requires all schools — kindergarten through 12th grade — to implement a cardiac emergency response plan. Prior to PA 12, there was no way of tracking whether Michigan schools had a cardiac plan in place.

Also in 2014, the Michigan Alliance for the Prevention of Sudden Cardiac Death of the Young, the American Heart Association, and the Michigan departments of Health and Human Services and Education created the MI HEARTSafe Schools program to recognize schools that go beyond PA 12 by developing an extensive cardiac emergency plan that meets the MI HEARTSafe School guidelines.

“We launched the program four years ago with the hopes that every three years, a school would renew,” said Angela Minicuci, public information officer with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

This year, 125 schools in Michigan were named as MI HEARTSafe Schools, a designation that lasts for three years. In order to receive a MI HEARTSafe School rating, the school must perform at least one cardiac emergency response drill per year; have a written medical emergency response plan and a medical emergency response team; have a current CPR/automated external defibrillator certification for at least 10 percent of the staff and 50 percent of coaches, including 100 percent of head varsity coaches and 100 percent of physical education staff; have accessible, properly maintained and inspected AEDs with signs identifying their locations; and ensure all student-athletes are screened using the current physical and history form endorsed by the Michigan High School Athletic Association, according to Minicuci.

Superintendent Robert Shaner said he is “extremely proud” of the work that went into ensuring each and every one of the district’s schools is designated as a MI HEARTSafe School.

“In the event of a cardiac emergency, our teams are well-prepared to care for our students, staff and visitors,” Shaner said in a statement.

To date, 53 buildings in Oakland County have received the MI HEARTSafe School designation, including 21 buildings in Rochester Community Schools.

“By earning the MI HEARTSafe School designation, RCS has taken the additional steps, above what is required, to respond in the event of a cardiac emergency,” Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Debi Fragomeni said in a statement. “We are so proud of our staff and administrators, who have made earning this designation a priority.”

Since the launch of the MI HEARTSafe program in 2014, at least three people suffering sudden cardiac arrest are known to have been successfully resuscitated at schools that were preparing for, or had recently submitted, a MI HEARTSafe application.

“We are so proud to support Michigan’s HEARTSafe Schools,” State Superintendent Brian Whiston said in a statement. “Ensuring schools are prepared for sudden cardiac emergencies through planning, training and lifesaving AEDs is an important part of having safer learning environments for students, staff and the community.”

For a list of designated schools, visit migrc.org/library/HeartSafeSpotlight.html.

For more information about the MI HEARTSafe Schools program, visit www.migrc.org/mi heartsafe or email MDHHS-MI-HEARTSafe@michigan.gov.