By: Leland Kim
MO'ILI'ILI (KHNL) - Every 30 seconds, someone in the U.S. suffers a heart attack. And every minute, someone dies from one. A local school is the first on O'ahu to take steps to dramatically reduce those odds.
A small, rectangular machine can save lives. It's called an automated external defibrillator or an A.E.D. This is a demonstration, but if this young man collapsed from a heart attack, he would only have minutes to live. An A.E.D. is his only hope.
"That just helps it get back to its normal beat, and it can save lives," said Allie Stitham, a student A.E.D. instructor.
Allie is one of the student instructors at 'Iolani School.
"It helps me feel more confident that I know how if in fact I come upon a situation where I'll need to use one, it helps me feel that I'm prepared," said Stitham.
A.E.D.'s were installed last year throughout the campus when school leaders decided the devices were important tools.
This is one of thirteen A.E.D.'s on campus. While sudden cardiac death is primarily associated with the senior population, young people could also be at risk.
Sometimes, it could be a genetic heart condition. In other cases,
"A blow to the chest with a football or a baseball can put a young, healthy adult into fibrillation," Peggy Stitham, 'Iolani's director of health services.
Even with C.P.R., the chance of survival is only about forty percent. With an A.E.D., that percentage more than doubles.
"It'll just make the campus safer and all the time and money spent on the program will be all worth it once one life is saved," Andrew Inaba, a student A.E.D. instructor. "I think one life is well worth the time and money."
The gift of life, which school officials say, can't be measured in dollars.