Project Adam

Valley Springs Middle School students and staff put their hearts into a unique designation from a national organization. The school is now a Project ADAM Heart Safe School. Thanks to a grant, staff were trained to recognize Sudden Cardiac Arrest and act fast to save a life. This effort was led by school nurse Lisa Saladin.

“I attended the Annual North Carolina School Nurse Conference in December of 2022, where I participated in a breakout session on Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) and Project ADAM,” said Nurse Saladin. “I, along with one of my nurse colleagues, were so inspired by the presentation that we decided to pursue the Project ADAM Heart Safe School designation at Valley Springs Middle School (VSMS) and our Progressive Education Program (PEP).”

The school already has three AEDs. The training included all staff knowing where each AED is and being able to retrieve it and have it in use on a patient in under three minutes. Also, several staff members are CPR/AED certified, and the emergency response team is committed to conducting annual drills. For the staff, this designation hits close to home after one of them suffered sudden cardiac arrest 2 years ago. 

“In 2021, one of our BCS bus drivers suffered a sudden cardiac arrest. 911 was called and immediate action was taken by one of our school nurses and the school staff,” said Nurse Saladin. “Because of the staff's quick response, initiation of high-quality CPR, and the use of the school's Automated External Defibrillator (AED), our driver's life was saved. She is doing great and back at work for BCS.”

VSMS is the first school in Buncombe County to earn this designation. Nurse Saladin hopes other schools are inspired to do the same.

“Because of our Heart Safe Designation, students, staff, and visitors at Valley Springs Middle School and our Progressive Education Program will be positively impacted by having a safer school environment and a more prepared school community.”

Project ADAM was founded in 1999 at a hospital in Wisconsin after a series of sudden cardiac deaths in high school athletes. Thanks to the training through this program, nationwide over 200 lives have been saved. Learn more: