TMSG: Motivated by Own Close Call, Arlington High School Earns ‘Heart Safe' Designation

Only 390 total schools — and just 52 high schools — in Texas are Heart Safe

When seconds matter, preparation and training can mean the difference between life or death.

After learning that firsthand, the staff at Arlington High School is going above and beyond to make sure they're ready for an emergency.

"And that was a big motivator for us," said Sarah Heroman, a registered nurse who works at Arlington High School.

In January of 2018, a vendor was visiting Arlington High School when he suddenly collapsed near the orchestra room. He had gone into cardiac arrest.

Heroman got the call and immediately began making her way down there. But because Arlington High School is so large, it would take her several minutes to get from the clinic to the hallway where the vendor was.

Fortunately, two teachers who were nearby knew CPR and had already started chest compressions by the time Heroman arrived. While they were doing that, a school security officer ran and grabbed one of the schools AED's and brought it to them.

"We got it on him, shocked him, and resuscitated him — and he was talking by the time he got in the ambulance," said Heroman. "So we all felt very much the importance of having everybody trained and ready."

The school partnered with Cook Children's, which serves as the local affiliate for Project ADAM — an organization whose goal is to increase the number of people inside every school that can perform CPR and use an AED.

They give "Heart Safe" designations to schools that voluntarily go through a rigorous process that includes training all staff and having a plan in place that makes AED's readily identifiable and available.

Arlington High School recently became the 9th Arlington Independent School District campus to receive that designation.

"We're very happy to have the [Heart Safe] designation," said Heroman. "And I think everybody feels a lot better knowing that if it would happen to them while they're on campus, they would be in good hands."

Only 390 total schools — and just 52 high schools — in Texas are Heart Safe.

Arlington ISD says several of its other campuses are working on getting their designation.

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