While attending a small seminar Monday, Sacred Heart Catholic School received a new Automated External Defibrillator through a partnership with Western Plains Medical Complex.

The seminar was held at the Cathedral of Our Lady Guadalupe in Dodge City and was attended by faculty from Sacred Heart, Western Plains hospital staff and Ford County Fire/EMS. They reviewed cardiac arrest procedures, including signs and symptoms and administering CPR.

Western Plains is currently renewing its Chest Pain Accreditation and is required every three years to keep up with the standards in quality health care and changes in medicine.

It chose Sacred Heart because of CPA expectations for it to partner with a school and the fact that Sacred Heart did not have an AED.

Other schools in Ford County received donated AEDs because of the necessary and beneficial lifesaving cooperation with the hospital.

“For instance, the high school has five AEDs in their facility, and we knew Sacred Heart did not have any, so it was easy for us to choose them as a partner,” said Western Plains assistant administrator Jeremy Rabe.

Principal Lynee Habinger of Sacred Heart said the school had been needing an AED for many years but budget restraints had prevented it from purchasing one.

“I just wanted to say on behalf of the staff and students and families of Sacred Heart, we are just really thrilled and honored with the donation of the AED,” Habinger said. “Clearly Western Plains places health needs and safety as a priority for all people in the community and this is just one example of what they do.”

She lists examples of when and where the AED can be used to save someone should it ever be needed, including at school assemblies, sporting events and other programs, and said that should an emergency arise, it can even be used during Mass, which is held three times a week and usually joined by members of the community.

Habinger said that while the school's teachers are trained in CPR, having the AED to use in conjunction with administering CPR until EMS arrives is an appreciated and safer procedure.

Rabe said Western Plains staff will train Sacred Heart faculty in the use of the AED, and Habinger confirmed the school is working with Western Plains to set training dates.

“Western Plains is proud to partner with Sacred Heart Cathedral School,” said Western Plains CEO Scott Smith. “We are honored to present them with this vital life-saving device.”