AEDs to be tested in Delano schools

Delano middle schools are trying AEDs to see if they will enhance the safety of the students.

The Delano Union School District will be trying out automated external defibrillators at its middle school campuses to see if they will enhance the safety of the students.

James Hay, the director of Student Support Services for Delano Union Elementary School District, said after considering the advantages and disadvantages, the district will test them out on a limited basis.

"This is kind of a pilot placement to kind of determine what we can accomplish in terms of having qualified staff members that are able to use this in an effective way," Hay said.

They are installing them in the four middle schools: La Vina, Almond Tree, Cecil Avenue and Pioneer.

"We wanted to start with the middle school grades, because this is a grade level where the students are more active and potentially the need for the AEDs would be greater because of the physical activity the students are involved in," he said.

He said they will be training an estimated 60-70 people to use the AEDs, which he said could take a considerable amount of time.

"These are not fire extinguishers. They are very complex pieces of equipment that need to be used in emergency situations. If it's going to be done, it has to be done right," Hay said.

Hay said that the district is not installing the AEDs in response to the death of Jose Beltran. The eighth-grade boy died after collapsing in gym class at Cecil Avenue Middle School last January. While he said it was an unfortunate incident, Hay said the district had been considering the placement of AEDs long before it happened.

Eyewitness News reached out to the Beltran family attorney, Neil Gehlawat, who said in a statement: "Whether or not this was done in response to the Jose Beltran incident, we are happy to see that the school district is taking affirmative steps in assuring that no other family goes through a tragedy like the Beltran family did."

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