Houston County High School visitor collapses; board talks about A.E.D. placement

(WTVY News 4)
Published: Aug. 12, 2019 at 10:55 PM CDT
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The first day of school for Houston County High School ended with a bit of a shock. A visitor collapsed, but paramedics got there just in time.

Fortunately, they didn’t have to use an automatic external defibrillator because Columbia paramedics were so close, but this incident, coupled with the Dale County football player who collapsed last week, has started quite a conversation on defibrillators.

For most Houston County Schools, dismissal on the first day of school was fairly normal procedure, but Houston County High had a visitor collapse, which may have a lasting impact on the whole system.

"They didn't use an A.E.D., but it would've been good to have it on hand of course," said Houston County School Board Chairman Vince Wade.

The district had to replace an A.E.D. last year, which is when they started evaluating if they have enough and enough people trained on them.

"We have 122 personnel that are trained to operate these 17 A.E.D.s,” said Houston County Schools Lead Nurse Caitlin Thomas.

So the system does meet the state requirement of having one A.E.D. and one person trained at each school, but there are some concerns.

"We were just made aware that they have a little age on them, and it's probably a good idea that we revisit that and look at upgrading our A.E.D. s and possibly purchase new ones to put at each of our athletic facilities," said Wade.

The 17 A.E.D.s were all purchased between 2003 and 2005 and are spread out among 11 campuses.

Some only have one in the main office, so if a situation happened at the other end of the school, it may be too late.

"Our alternative school currently does not have one," said Thomas.

The alternative school doesn't have any athletics, but as shown by the collapse of a visitor at Houston County High, you never know when you'll need one.

"Last year, there were nine lives saved by use of an A.E.D.,” said Thomas. “Most were at a sports event. Dothan city actually had one saved at a parent meeting."

The board only discussed the A.E.D. at the meeting. There was no vote.

It will most likely be on the agenda with some cost estimates at the next meeting.

According to the department of the Army Technical Bulletin, the lifespan of an A.E.D. is only eight years.

The board went in to an executive session about "technology".

They didn't provide any more information regarding the malware attack or the recovering computer system.