Defibrillators in schools

Irregular heartbeats often go unnoticed.

In the case of athletes, they can sometimes become silent killers, but a life can be saved if the proper equipment is readily available.

Schools across the state have placed automated external defibrillators, or AEDs, in gymnasiums and sporting arenas in the event of an emergency.

Marquette Senior High School has an AED in its gym, but even though the device is in a good location, it’s also important that the machine works.

“Once a month, I just open up the box and put it on the ground and follow the cues and guide you through what you want,” MSHS physical education teacher Rico Zenti said. “There’s going to be instructions, tear open the packet, and if I get that far and get a green light, I know that it’s working.”

Even if the AED is user-friendly, the actual use of it should be left to people with proper training.

MSHS student teacher Mat Meyer is a certified lifeguard. “In order to use the device, you need to go through a course of first aid,” he said. “You can go through the American Red Cross, American Heart. There’s some dangers involved. If someone’s touching the individual while they’re being shocked, they can get that. It won’t give them an efficient shock if someone else is touching.”

There are currently seven members of the MSHS staff who are trained in using an AED.

The Marquette Area Public Schools have 25 trained people in all throughout the district.

There’s also one AED in every Marquette Area Public Schools building.