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Fairfield County school first in Midlands to achieve Heart Safe designation

Karlin Ferguson
November 02, 2023
Group of smiling people holding a sign saying Project ADAm Heart Safe School

Fairfield Career and Technology Center is the first school in the Midlands to achieve the Project ADAM Heart Safe School designation. Beginning Oct. 9, students, visitors and staff will have a better chance of surviving a cardiac arrest because the school has been recognized as Heart Safe.

MUSC Children’s Health collaborates with Project ADAM (Automated Defibrillators in Adam’s Memory), a program of Children’s Wisconsin and the Herma Heart Institute, to offer schools a comprehensive plan to prevent sudden cardiac death. The program ensures that automated external defibrillators (AEDs) are available at schools throughout the country. AEDs are safe and easy to use, making it possible for nonmedical personnel to provide rapid defibrillation for victims of all ages. In Heart Safe schools, Project ADAM coordinators develop a cardiac emergency response plan, organize AED drills and train school staff on the warning signs and prevention of sudden cardiac death.

The Heart Safe School designation indicates to the public that school staff members are trained and prepared to respond to a cardiac emergency. “The MUSC Children’s Health Heart Safe SC team is integral in working with schools to achieve this designation,” said Tara Lawson, MUSC Children’s Health Heart Safe SC program coordinator. “We are helping to take the designation a step further by running AED drills with the school's medical response team to ensure an increased probability of a positive outcome in the event of a medical emergency.”

A sudden cardiac arrest is a condition in which abnormal heart rhythms suddenly cause the heart’s electrical impulses to become chaotic. Defibrillation, which delivers an electric shock to the heart, is the only known treatment to stop this chaotic electrical activity. For every minute defibrillation is delayed, the victim’s chances of survival decrease by 7% to 10%. 

Project ADAM saves lives by empowering schools and communities to be prepared for those who experience sudden cardiac arrests. Project ADAM programming has been adopted in schools nationwide. The program was launched in memory of Adam Lemel, a 17-year-old student from Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin, who collapsed and died while playing basketball at school. 

According to the American Heart Association, there are 326,200 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests every year. Of those, only about 10.6% survive. Approximately 20% of a community is on a school property on any given school day, including students, teachers, staff and family members. Focusing on cardiac arrest preparedness in schools is critical to protecting our children and others in the community.

For more information about Project ADAM, please contact Tara Lawson, Project ADAM coordinator, at

About MUSC Children’s Health

MUSC Children’s Health is changing what’s possible for children and their families by providing the pediatric clinical and research expertise every child deserves. From promoting healthy lifestyles to offering life-saving treatments, MUSC Children’s Health delivers comprehensive and compassionate care to children throughout South Carolina and beyond. 

MUSC’s integrated children’s health care system consists of the over 250-bed MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital (SJCH) and Pearl Tourville Women’s Pavilion located on the Charleston peninsula, which is one of the most patient and family centered and technologically advanced hospitals for children and their families in the United States; the Charles P. Darby Research Institute where pediatric research teams conduct significant and ongoing efforts; the R. Keith Summey Medical Pavilion in North Charleston which offers an ambulatory care and surgery center, specialty care and after hours clinics; and finally, expanded depth and breadth of expertise in multiple locations throughout the state, offering primary, urgent and specialty care in person or via telehealth.

To provide the best care for children of South Carolina now and in the future, Children’s Health puts the needs of patients and their families first. This intentional way of moving forward aligns with the emerging national best practice of offering children’s ambulatory and specialty services within local communities and delivery of more acute care at a major flagship hospital. As a result, families receive the best combination of high quality, lower cost and easily accessible care as possible. For more information, visit