The Hawaii High School Athletic Association (HHSAA) is teaming up with the Hawaii Medical Service Association (HMSA) to distribute 320 automated external defibrillators (AEDs) to 95 HHSAA public and private high schools statewide. The schools were selected based on their student population and how many AED devices they already have.
All Kauai Interscholastic Federation schools are eligible to receive at least one AED after the school commits six to 10 people to go through AED and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training, said HHSAA director of information and marketing Natalie Iwamoto.
AEDs can help restore a normal heart rhythm during a sudden cardiac arrest by sending an electric shock to a victim to restore a heartbeat. According to the American Heart Association, approximately 475,000 Americans die from a cardiac arrest every year. Cardiac arrest claims more lives worldwide than colorectal cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, influenza, pneumonia, auto accidents, HIV, firearms and house fires combined.
“Providing these life-saving tools in our schools, and making sure that people are trained to use them, creates more opportunities to save lives,” said Michael Stollar, HMSA president and CEO in a news release. “We’re honored to be a part of the proactive work that HHSAA is doing to support the health and well-being of our local communities.”
Once the AEDs are distributed to schools and training is conducted by HHSAA, the life-saving devices will be available for coaches and athletic trainers to use during Hawaii high school sporting events and practices.
“The safety of everyone participating in and attending school sporting events is what matters most,” said HHSAA executive director Christopher Chun. “AEDs have already played a vital role at schools for more than a decade, and we’re happy to supply them to Hawaii high schools.”
In 2006, under the direction of HHSAA former executive director Keith Amemiya, HHSAA and HMSA first donated and distributed AEDs to Hawaii high schools.