Staff, Students and Community Work Together for Safety

There are AED devices that can save a life placed strategically throughout the Carmel Schools so that if someone is suffering a heart attack in any of the buildings, there will be help close by.  

But last year, after the cardiac incident with Damar Hamlin on the Buffalo Bills, Lisa Palmieri, a physical education teacher at Matthew Paterson Elementary noticed that the athletic field at the George Fischer Middle School was so far from the building that it might be difficult to get quick access to an AED, or automated external defibrillator, should there be a need.  

“As a CPR/AED instructor I truly understand that every second counts so, I reached out to see how we could get an AED on the GFMS fields since the nearest ones were inside of the buildings,” Palmieri said.   Carmel High School students built a shed that can house an AED machine at the GFMS field. 

She brought her concern to the district’s Safety Committee and John Fink, the Assistant Superintendent of Business who is chair of the committee, got to work to solve the problem.  

He talked to Deputy Charlie Johnson, the SRO at the middle school, who helped identify an AED that could “live” at the field. 

Then he reached out to Robert Leonard Jr., the chair of the Technology Department, to see if students in the woodshop class could build a shed that could stand on the field and keep an AED safe from the elements.  

“I thought it would be a quick project, but it was pretty complicated,” Mr. Leonard said. “It needed to maintain a steady temperature, so we had to ensure there was airflow and ventilation. It had to have a plexiglass door, so people could see what’s inside.”   

Mr. Leonard came up with the design, and three of his woodshop students took charge of the project – Ryan Saavedra, Joe Greico and Nishan Bhandari.  

“They were really excited to be doing something good for the community,” Mr. Leonard said. “They did it on their own time, after they finished their class assignments. It was not easy. It was the kind of thing that we showed them how to build as they were building it.”   

And when the high school students finished building it, the shed went to the middle school, where students in art class painted it.  

“This is a great example of a community coming together,” Mr. Fink said. “So many people stepped up – from the teacher who identified the need, to the SRO and the woodshop and art teachers, to the high school students who built it and the middle school students who painted it, and the facilities department that installed it.” 

This season the AED shed stands at the middle school field.  

“We hope we’ll never need it, but if we do, we’ll have an entire school community to thank,” Mr. Fink said.