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Quick Action By Peers And Staff Saves Life Of Minarets Student

O’NEALS – A 17-year-old student from Minarets High School is in stable condition at Valley Children’s Hospital after quick action by students and staff likely saved his life.

Chawanakee Unified School District Superintendent Darren Sylvia says the lunch hour was just winding down yesterday at the Minarets campus, and food service personnel had begun clearing the cafeteria as some students lingered here and there.

Suddenly, one of the students began having trouble breathing; he then passed out and collapsed. Others with him immediately notified a food service worker who began performing CPR on the young man, who had by now stopped breathing and had no pulse.

As CPR continued, students ran to the office to get more help, and staff and teachers raced to the scene and took over CPR while one grabbed the AED (automatic external defibrilator).

During the 14 minutes that elapsed before the ambulance arrived, staff was able to revive the young man and get a pulse and some shallow breathing.

When Sierra Ambulance arrived at the scene, they took over the CPR, administered oxygen and transported the student to Valley Children’s Hospital.

“I truly believe that this student’s life was saved by the quick reaction of the students and staff,” says Sylvia. “They did what they were trained to do, addressed the situation, and executed everything exactly as it should have been in an emergency situation.”

All staff members at Minarets are trained in CPR and First Aid through a partnership with Sierra Ambulance and Cal Fire, says Sylvia. The training is also available to all students and they can take EMT training through the adult education program.

Another important component of this successful response was the presence of AEDs on campus. There are currently two devices available, one in the office and one in the gymnasium. Sylvia says they are working to acquire a third, to be installed near the sports fields.

Training on the use of the AEDs is done by Amy Sheller, the Minarets school nurse.

Ed Guzman, general manager at Sierra Ambulance, credits the school with having the foresight to purchase the devices.

“The school made the decision to spend the money for the AEDs years ago, and yesterday it paid for itself,” says Guzman.

Superintendent Sylvia says all the Chawanakee campuses are equipped with AEDs except the Mountain Oaks adult ed site, and they have written a grant to have one installed there.

As for yesterday’s incident, Sylvia says the students and staff did exactly what they were trained to do.

“They reacted as they were trained, and saved this young man’s life.”

Sylvia says the student is in stable condition and that reports from the hospital are good.

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