Article reposted from The Alliance Review
Author: CHELSEA SHAR
Stephanie McKnight, the health sciences teacher at Alliance High School, was the right person to be called to help when Renee Barnes, a French teacher at the school, went into cardiac arrest after school one day.
Barnes collapsed from cardiac arrest after school one day in the high school lobby. McKnight, whose classroom is close by, was called to the scene where her teaching went into practice.
“I assessed the scene and immediately began CPR while Abbey Blake got the AED (automated external defibrillator) from the lobby cabinet. Lindsey Reynolds who is also a certified athletic trainer prepared the AED for use. I continued CPR and used the AED until the Alliance Fire Department arrived. It was an incredible team effort. Administrators and staff at the scene worked so well together. Everyone knew their role and performed seamlessly,” McKnight said.
Barnes was then transported by medical ambulance to the hospital where she received treatment. The intervention by McKnight and others that day may have saved her life.
McKnight teaches the Sports Medicine career tech path at the high school, is a certified athletic trainer and is a CPR and American Heart Association First Aid instructor.
She said while she was administering CPR and the AED machine, all she could think of were the lessons she teaches students each day.
“The only thing going through my mind was my training. My training as an athletic trainer and my training as a CPR instructor guided me through the situation until more advanced help arrived. Abbey Blake was even certified in one of my classes last year,” she said.
Alliance High School Principal Shawn Jacksonl nominated McKnight for the Aviator Pride Award, a monthly award given by the school board of education that recognizes a staff member or teacher for their exceptional service to the district.
“Stephanie McKnight’s calm, purposeful, and direct actions in saving the life of a colleague were amazing to behold. In a very tense situation, she confidently took control and expertly used her knowledge and training to save Renee Barnes, who had collapsed in the high school lobby,” Jackson wrote in his nomination about McKnight.
She was awarded the Aviator Pride Award at the Dec. 20 school board meeting.
Alliance City School District has more AED machines than required by state law. The one McKnight used in the lobby of the high school is a ReviveR AED. The only thing that needs replaced after use are the pads, the actual machine is reusable.
McKnight said that through the incident more people will realize the need for First Aid and CPR training.
“People are afraid to help for any number of reasons but through proper education and practice this fear can be lessened. CPR training certification is good for two years,” McKnight said.
Her students are trained in Heartsaver Adult, Child & Infant CPR their junior year and BLS (Basic Life Support) their senior year. Her students also practice using the AED during both trainings.
For more information on gaining CPR or First Aid certification, call the Alliance Career Centre at 330-829-2267.