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Nonnewaug High School's Chief News Source

NHS Chief Advocate

Nonnewaug High School's Chief News Source

NHS Chief Advocate

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Woodbury and Bethlehem Fire Junior Corps Host Car Wash to Fund New AED

Samara Thomas
The Bethlehem and Woodbury fire departments’ junior corps wash an ambulance as part of a fundraiser for a new AED at Nonnewaug.

BETHLEHEM — Life-saving tools are scattered throughout Nonnewaug.

AEDs, which stands for automated external defibrillators, are portable machines that are used to help save someone during cardiac arrest. The medical device that usually has its distinct symbol depicting a heart with an electric shock on the front, is specifically designed to analyze the rhythm of a person’s heartbeat. If a life-threatening rhythm is detected, the AED sends electrical signals to the victim’s heart in order to restore a normal heartbeat. 

Currently, Nonnewaug High School carries five of these AEDs placed in easily accessible and clearly visible places, so teachers and students can access them easily during a medical emergency. It’s essential to have these machines in highly populated areas like lobbies, gymnasiums, playgrounds, sports facilities, and health centers where medical professionals — or average bystanders — can assist.

One of the five automated external defibrillators, or AEDs, that reside on Nonnewaug’s campus.  (James Assard)

“There are many reasons a person can fall into cardiac arrest,” Nonnewaug school nurse Sandra Snabaitis said. “Cardiac disease, injury, medication, electrocution — there’s a lot of ways.” 

While NHS has five AEDs, including one that athletic trainer Sean McGee keeps in his golf cart during practices and games, there’s one place without a device that Snabaitis said needs one.

“We have an AED outside my door, in the cafe, in the ag center, and down by the gym,” Snabaitis said, “[but] there’s a lot of times [when] people are down in the weight room. Although it’s a quiet area, it’s the perfect spot for an AED.”

Athletes can fall into cardiac arrest under the circumstances of getting hit in the chest area or from an underlying medical condition, such as an undetected heart abnormality. Students exercising or weightlifting in the weight room could also be at risk for cardiac arrest.

To address the need, the junior corps of the Bethlehem and Woodbury volunteer fire departments are working together to raise money for an AED in Nonnewaug’s weight room and another AED elsewhere in the district. The juniors held a community car wash Oct. 1.

“The junior corps raised just slightly over $1,000,” said Bethlehem Chief Ken LeClerc, whose department has about a dozen junior members between 11-17 years old.

With this successful car wash providing a majority of the costs for an additional AED, the Woodbury and Bethlehem fire departments plan to cover other costs.

“The firefighters association is going to pay the rest; depending on the machine they cost between $1,500-$2,000,” LeClerc said. “We’re working with Woodbury to make sure we get the same kind of AED.”

With consideration of the safety benefits that come along with these fundraisers, the junior corps plan to continue these fundraisers in the near future for additional causes.

“The juniors will continue holding fundraisers,” LeClerc said. “They typically do around two of them every year.”

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About the Contributor
James Assard '25, Reporter
James Assard is a junior at Nonnewaug and writes for the NHS Chief Advocate. James lives in Bethlehem and this is his first year attending Nonnewaug. James is interested in design and likes to play tennis in his free time. James strives to attend a university and major in interior design.
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