Frequently Asked Questions about Project ADAM

How can I start Project ADAM in my school? To begin Project ADAM at your school or for questions, please contact our program coordinator at 517-364-5032 or projectadam@umich.edu.

What are the benefits of participating in Project ADAM Michigan?

  • Higher awareness of sudden cardiac arrest and impending sudden cardiac arrest, along with how to initiate a timely response
  • Guidance on establishing CPR/AED life skills for students and staff
  • Assistance with planning for a comprehensive school AED implementation/deployment plan

Learn more about the resources Project ADAM provides.

What is the commitment required of schools to participate? Project ADAM Michigan schools commit to implement protocols provided in the Project ADAM manuals. The manual assists school staff in forming an emergency response team; implementing practice AED drills; educating school staff, students and parents on the location of the AED; conducting appropriate maintenance and testing of equipment; and keeping an accurate record of staff trained in CPR.

Has Project ADAM made an impact nationally? Since Project ADAM’s inception in 1999, nationally there have been more than 50 documented cases of lives being saved in Project ADAM-affiliated schools. Thirty of the lives saved were in Georgia, where more than 800 schools have implemented Project S.A.V.E., the Project ADAM affiliate in Georgia.

Are schools in Michigan required to do any of this? No. Earlier this year, however, a bill called the Cardiac Emergency Response Drill Bill was introduced and passed the state House. It moves on to the Senate in the fall. This bill would allow schools to substitute a cardiac emergency response drill for one of their mandatory fire drills. Schools would be encouraged  to adopt and implement a cardiac emergency response plan. The experts at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital are available to answer questions about creating these plans.

How can a school substitute a cardiac emergency drill for one of its fire drills? In addition to the resources Project ADAM offers schools, the Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Association offers excellent resources for planning and running sudden cardiac arrest drills on their Drill Dr. Heart website.

How do we write policies for responding to a medical emergency? Project ADAM has created templates of many emergency preparedness policies, procedures and letters that your school can tailor to your specific institution.

How can school faculty generate administrative and community support? The key is letting facts tell your story. The extent of the problem, legal issues, cost, training and program implementation all are factors to be considered. Project ADAM Michigan staff can help you put together your presentation to include all of this information. We also have a CD and video that you can use to generate support and funding for your program. In addition, we are able to travel to your location and speak with key groups of people to help explain the program and the implications for the school and community.

Where do we find appropriate resources and how do we begin to plan for this program? Planning begins with a committee of key people including school administrators, athletic personnel, school nurses, parents, local emergency medical personnel, medical directors and any community groups you have identified as being interested in supporting the initiative. The Project ADAM manual and resources will help you answer some initial questions, anticipate the costs and begin planning for training and program implementation. We also have staff who can help lead your first meeting and assist with the planning process.

What is an AED? An AED, or automated external defibrillator, is a device that automatically analyzes heart rhythms and advises the operator to deliver a shock if the heart is in a fatal heart rhythm. AEDs are safe and will not shock if there is not a fatal heart rhythm. Non-medical personnel can use AEDs safely and effectively with minimal training.

How does an AED work? A computer inside the defibrillator analyzes the victim's heart rhythm. The device decides whether a shock is needed. Some devices shock the victim automatically if a shock is needed. Other devices require that the operator press a button to deliver the shock. The shock is delivered through pads stuck to the victim's bare chest. The shock stuns the heart, stopping abnormal heart activity, and allowing a normal heart rhythm to resume.

Who can use an AED? Modern AEDs are designed to be used by any motivated bystander, regardless of training. The devices advise the user about how to apply the device and whether or not to administer a shock. Some devices shock automatically if the victim has a fatal heart rhythm. Training is important, however, particularly since almost all victims also need CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) to keep the blood circulating while the AED is being mobilized and to help establish a good heart beat after the AED is used. Most of the time, the AED will advise the user to administer CPR, depending on the needs of the victim, and in these cases it is quite helpful to have CPR training. AEDs have been used successfully by police, firefighters, flight attendants, security guards and lay rescuers.

What brand of AED should we buy? Project ADAM does not provide recommendations for specific AED devices. We will provide you with the names and contact numbers for vendors who sell FDA-approved devices. AED vendors, your local EMS and medical professionals in your community can provide insight as to which device best fits your needs.

Can I be sued for trying to help someone experiencing cardiac arrest? Michigan’s Good Samaritan Laws state that a lay person who in good faith voluntarily provides cardiopulmonary resuscitation and/or defibrillator use is not liable.   Federal Good Samaritan Laws reinforce this.

Get started!

To begin Project ADAM Michigan at your school or for more information, contact the Project ADAM Michigan coordinator at 517-364-5032 or projectadam@umich.edu. We look forward to working with you on this life-saving initiative.