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Central Bucks among first to obtain CHOP heart designation


Central Bucks School District will accept banners signifying that all 23 schools within the Central Bucks School District (CBSD) have completed the necessary requirements to be designated as a “Heart Safe School” by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP).

The banners will be presented at the district’s May 10 meeting of the board of school directors, which will begin at 7 p.m. at the CBSD Educational Services Center, located at 16 Weldon Drive in Doylestown. CHOP’s Lindsey Flanagan, Youth Heart Watch coordinator, and Dr. Victoria Vetter medical director of Youth Heart Watch, will both be on hand to recognize the district’s schools during the meeting.

The Central Bucks School District has been working with CHOP’s Youth Heart Watch program to implement the best practices in cardiac emergency preparedness and response and officially earned the Heart Safe School designation in May 2022. The process included the formulation of a “Code Heart” emergency response plan. Each school’s critical event response team (CERT) was trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and automated external defibrillator (AED) use. Faculty and staff received education on CHOP’s “Code Heart” emergency response procedures, and the expectations and assignments for each CERT ream member during a sudden cardiac arrest.

Following the education, proctored, live drills took place in each building during school hours. Using a CPR manikin, a “Code Heart” was called overhead in each school and the CERT team was expected to arrive to the scene and follow the steps outlined in the district’s cardiac emergency response plan. Leanne Cichelli, certified school nurse and nursing department coordinator; Sara Hedges, certified school nurse; and Dave Cell, chief of public safety and emergency management; collaborated with local emergency medical services, fire, and police to create a simulation that would be tailored to each school. Emergency responders arrived at the scene, participated in the drills, and provided brief education to the CERT teams on what to expect upon their arrival. Following the proctored drills, each school’s CERT team debriefed as a group and were given the opportunity to reflect on the drill, as well as identify areas of strength, needs for improvement, and lessons learned.

Now that the groundwork has been laid, each Central Bucks school will continue to review their plans and hold drills and trainings each year to ensure that students, staff, and families are safe while on campus.