Defibrillators are numerous at 2 high schools

NASHUA – There are nine automated external defibrillators, or AEDs, between the city’s two public high schools for use when someone goes into cardiac arrest.

School nurses at Nashua High School North and South said Thursday that the defibrillators are strategically placed around the buildings and are easy enough for anyone to use in the case of an emergency.

Annamaria Delk, school nurse at South, said the building’s four defibrillators are outside of the gymnasium, by the principal’s office, near the auditorium and on the fourth floor of the building.

“They are portable. We do check them every day and maintain them,” she said. “They are always accessible when needed.”

On Thursday, The Telegraph published an article about Corrin Murphy, a junior at North, who is raising money to purchase AEDs for high schools in Nashua.

The article indicated that North only had one defibrillator, donated by Murphy’s grandfather, Dr. Charles Goyette, and that Murphy was raising money to purchase one at South, as well.

School nurses were quick to point out Thursday that both of the city’s public high schools are currently equipped with several of the devices, which are also ready for use at athletic events.

Jen Fitzgerald, school nurse at North, said that in addition to the defibrillator donated by Goyette, the school has three other defibrillators that are mounted throughout the school.

They are outside the auditorium, in the main stairwell and near the athletic department, she said.

The North athletic trainer carries the AED donated by Goyette and there is another one that the South athletic trainer has available at sporting events, Fitzgerald said.

Delk said the school has several students and faculty who have cardiac conditions and are at risk of cardiac arrest. A defibrillator is used to shock the victim’s heart back into a normal rhythm.

“We do have a few students who have pacemakers and others with significant cardiac conditions,” she said.

Fitzgerald said she makes a point of reminding new staff at the beginning of each school year about the presence of the defibrillators and where they can be located.

One of the concerns staff members will have is further injuring the person who is in distress, Fitzgerald said. But with an AED, that is extremely unlikely, she said.

Fitzgerald said the devices are easy to use if an emergency arises. The AED use voice prompts, lights and text messages to tell the person what to do. It takes a reading of the victim and advises the person using it whether a shock is necessary.

“They’re all self-explanatory,” she said.

Delk and Fitzgerald both said that none of the defibrillators have ever been used, but they are placed throughout the building so that in case of emergency, they would be available.

Delk said the defibrillators at South were purchased with a grant from Endowment for Health and have been in the building for four years.

Fitzgerald said North has been equipped with defibrillators since it opened and were also provided through donations.

Several organizations, including Nashua Rotary West, Rockingham Ambulance and St. Joseph Hospital, pooled their resources to provide the first three, Fitzgerald said.

The high school athletic booster club provided funding for the other AED, she said.