Lancaster Elementary School Awarded Heart Health Accreditation - NBC4: Columbus, Ohio News, Weather, and Sports (WCMH-TV)

Lancaster Elementary School Awarded Heart Health Accreditation

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Schools practice fire and tornado drills, but how many practice what to do if someone has a heart attack?

Lancaster's West Elementary School is the first in the nation to earn the Heart Safe School Accreditation.

Every fourth- and fifth-grade student in the school has learned how to perform CPR.

Students and staff at the school are trained to go into medical lockdown, in which all available staff report to the site of the emergency.

"We have medical emergencies every day in our schools, and now people are feeling more comfortable with taking action. Not just calling 911 or waiting on a medic assistant or someone else with training to arrive," said Sarah McGraw-Thimmes, the district nurse for Lancaster City Schools.

The training doesn't stop there. McGraw-Thimmes and Fairfield Medical center has trained more than 2,000 students on how to perform hands-on CPR.

"Some people don't even know what to do. You can try and give them a chance, give them a chance to live until the ambulance comes," said Makayla Frank, a fifth-grade student.

As a result of the school's commitment, the school is the first in the nation to receive the accreditation from the Snider Cardiovascular Institute and the Sudden Arrhythmia Death Syndromes Foundation.

What they've learned in school will also help the community.

"We start teaching these fourth- and fifth-graders now that it's OK to react. It's OK to want to help somebody. You are not going to hurt them anymore if their heart has stopped. Then, we will have a much safer community in five, ten, fifteen years from now," said Bob Williams, of the Snider Cardiovascular Institute.

The district is trying to obtain the accreditation for all schools in Lancaster City schools.

Other districts like Pickerington Local School District have shown interest in the program.

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