Principal Michael Zapicchi, physical education teachers Trevor Warner and Tammy Petrocelli, school nurse Patricia Walsh, R.N., along with Chief Richard Furda, Patrolman Martin McElrath and emergency medical technicians Austin Fountain and Brian Barbarise were recognized by the association for their preparedness, quick response and appropriate action to save the student’s life.
As the student collapsed during gym class, teachers Trevor Warner and Tammy Petrocelli initiated the school’s medical emergency response plan. Mr. Warner immediately began CPR while Ms. Petrocelli radioed for help. Nurse Patricia Walsh called emergency services. First responder Patrolman Martin McElrath arrived within minutes, quickly followed by local emergency technicians Mr. Fountain and Mr. Barbarise who used an AED (automatic external defibrillator) to help save the student’s life.
In a sudden cardiac arrest, seconds count. Often, a victim’s survival depends on quick action by the people around them. Less than one-third of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest victims receive CPR from a bystander. Without immediate CPR, the chance of surviving out-of-hospital cardiac arrest drops up to 10 percent for each minute that passes without defibrillation. This means that by the time EMS personnel arrive on the scene it could be too late.
The American Heart Association and several other organizations collaborated to create Medical Emergency Response Plan for Schools (MERPS). This plan includes recommendations to help schools prepare for critical medical emergencies, such as sudden cardiac arrest. This plan focuses on five key areas including effective communication, coordinated emergency response plan, risk identification, training and the use of an AED.