Local schools get donated defibrillators for heart emergencies

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - A local foundation is working to put defibrillators in everyschool because heart emergencies can happen to people young and old.

"We didn't expect someone that young to just collapse," saysUniversity High School student Erika Yee.  She had to act fast when afellow marching band student went into cardiac arrest.

Erika is trained on automated external defibrillators (AEDs)so she yelled for someone to bring her the device.

"It was in the trainer's office, unfortunately.  It waslocked away and I couldn't use it."

Erika used hands only CPR and likely saved her friend'slife.

"Fortunately I was able to get his heart beating again, andhe's doing fine now."

Experiences like Erika's are the reason the Steven M.Gootter Foundation is trying to put an AED in every school and train staff andstudents on how to use them so they don't just sit in a closet.

"Sudden cardiac death can happen to anybody," saysfoundation president, Andrew Messing.  "It can happen to a student, itcould happen to a teacher or administrator so it's our goal to prevent thesetragedies."

This week, a Basis charter school received its AED fromGootter.  In all, the foundation has donated at least 40 of the medicaldevices to schools and other institutions.

"One of the AEDs that we donated t the community has beenused to save someone's life so it's been very gratifying," says Messing.

The Rincon and University High campuses already have one AED,but Erika's working to get two more on the combined campus so they're morereadily available when students and staff need them.

"I've trained over 450 students and adults here at my schooland I plan to train some more," says Erika.  "When you know how to dosomething it just kicks in, and you just go for it because you know someone'slife is on the line."

To apply for a donated AED, you can find the applications onthe Steven M. Gootter Foundation website at www.stevenmgootterfoundation.org.

Copyright 2013 TucsonNews Now All rights reserved.