Code Blue Unveiled at High School

High-tech life-saving device unveiled at local high school
January 06, 2010, 03:21 AM By Bill Silverfarb

Bill Silverfarb/Daily Journal
The state’s first video-equipped, two-way communications capable, 24-hour-monitored automated external defibrillator unit, called Code Blue, was unveiled at Sequoia High School’s Terremere Field yesterday.

As a registered nurse who has a long history of working in cardiology care for children, Kim Griffin knows how critical it is to respond quickly to someone who has suffered from sudden cardiac arrest.

And although children are far less likely to be afflicted with heart problems than adults, more than 8,000 children died from cardiac arrest last year in the United States, many of them athletes, Griffin said.

Yesterday, the state’s first video-equipped, two-way communications capable, 24-hour-monitored automated external defibrillator unit, called Code Blue, was unveiled at Sequoia High School’s Terremere Field.

The field hosts football practice and games and has a large track that is used not just by Sequoia students but the public in general during all hours of the day.

The high-tech defibrillator cost about $12,000 and was paid for by the Sequoia Healthcare District’s HeartSafe program. The district teamed with the Sequoia Union High School District and Redwood City Fire Department to bring the life-saving technology to the downtown high school campus with plans to bring the devices to all the district’s campuses, said school Superintendent Pat Gemma.

Griffin has been a nurse for 25 years and sits on the board of the Sequoia Healthcare District. Griffin hopes to see the high-tech devices installed on high school campuses up and down the Peninsula one day.

“There is no better use of taxpayer money than to save someone’s life. They save lives. We know this,” Griffin said.

The device is equipped with a 360 degree camera that police dispatchers can use to see and assist any victims. Once the device is activated by pushing a red button, dispatchers are immediately contacted who can then release the defibrillator and guide the user through the life-saving process.

Griffin has dealt with parents over the years who lost their children suddenly and knows how tragic it can be for families.

Terremere Field is the locale for numerous well-attended sporting contests, from intramural to adult league play, and sees recreational use until as late as 10 p.m. several months of the year. The new emergency unit is intended to help assure the safety of the thousands of youth and adults who take advantage of the field’s track and playing surfaces and speed emergency response no matter the reason for an emergency call, according to the health care district.

“Even if someone in the stands has a cell phone and they call 911, this is faster. It’s possible that 911 programs to a different police department or even goes to the CHP or even can be busy, but this one goes directly to the agency responsible for emergency service, said Don Horsley, president of the Sequoia Healthcare District Board of Directors.

The district will announce in the coming months which local nonprofits will benefit from its “Caring Community” grants. The grants go to groups that offer health care services in the southern part of San Mateo County. Some of its beneficiaries are Samaritan House and St. Anthony’s Padua Dining Room in Menlo Park among many others.

Bill Silverfarb can be reached by e-mail: silverfarb@smdailyjournal.com or by phone: (650) 344-5200 ext. 106.

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