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By Ben Orcuttfirstname.lastname@example.org
FRONT ROYAL -- Warren County Middle School received two automated external defibrillators on Monday from the Warren Memorial Hospital Foundation.
"On behalf of Warren County Public Schools and Warren County Middle School, I'd like to thank the Warren Memorial Hospital Foundation for these two wonderful lifesaving devices and thank you for all that you do for us," said Alan Fox, principal of the middle school.
Fox was presented with the two defibrillators by James M. Eastham, president of the foundation.
"We created the foundation to have a group that could support the hospital in enhancing the health care in the community," Eastham said. "It's things like this that we thought we could take it out of Warren Memorial's hands and help fund this stuff so they could use their funding more for care."
The defibrillators, which cost $650 each, will be placed at strategic locations in the school, Fox said. The school already has one of the devices, which can shock a fibrillating heart back into a normal rhythm.
Founded in 1991, the Warren Memorial Hospital Foundation has given $71,000 in assistance to the community this year and roughly $250,000 over the last five years.
The request for a defibrillator for the middle school was made by School Board member James S. Wells because the recently renovated two-story school is so large that he thought it would be best to have one of the devices on each floor.
"We want to put them in a place that's accessible as possible to the general public. So we have a grand hallway right here, so we're going to put one right next to the fire extinguisher so it'll be visible to the public," Fox said. "We're still thinking about the second one, but the logical place seems to be near the auditorium, which is where we'll have a lot of people coming and going."
Patrick Nolan, president of the hospital, said the defibrillators, also known as AEDs, are easy to use and the directions are included.
"It gets the rhythm back going in your heart," Nolan said. "If you've got somebody that goes out of rhythm, has a heart attack, whatever it may be, in the time that the [rescue] squad is taking to get here, it allows you to get that heart muscle back and going because everybody knows that as the amount of time you're losing that muscle [increases], it is detrimental to you long-term."
Fox said that having the defibrillators on hand is important.
"We have 840 students, but we also have over a hundred employees, and any time we have a special event, whether it's a game or some type of evening event, some type of play, some type of concert, we have a lot of parents and a lot of grandparents," Fox said. "This building is going to take a lot of community use over the next 50, 60, 70 years, especially when people realize how beautiful it is, so this will be a wonderful device to have on hand."
Schools Superintendent Pamela M. McInnis agreed, adding that where the devices are located, there are people trained to use them.
"We have four elementary schools that don't have them and four schools that do," she said. "We intend to have at least one in every school. I think it's a good practice."