Is your school prepared in the event of a cardiac emergency?

Montana state law directs the Office of Public Instruction to help school districts find appropriate resources for cardiac readiness, AED purchase, grant funding, and staff training in AED use and CPR. The new law, passed in 2017, encourages Montana school districts to provide a program of study in first aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and install and have ready to use automated external defibrillators (AEDs). MCA 20-7-1315


Montana Cardiac Ready Communities logo

The Cardiac Ready Communities Program at the Montana Department of Health and Human Services (DPHHS) has an excellent Toolkit that can help your school determine its readiness to handle a cardiac emergency. This toolkit is a great place to start to assess your needs and know what is involved in acquiring equipment and training personnel. 

For more information about the Cardiac Ready Communities Program, and names of on-site AED trainers and information on registering AEDs at your school, contact Janet Trethewey, EdD, Cardiac Ready Communities Program Manager, 406.444.0442 or visit the Cardiac Ready Communities website. Visit the Public Access Defibrillation website for information on registering AEDs at your location.

AED logo


Montana Heart Rescue logoCPR-in-a-Box: All Montana counties received at least two CPR-in-a-Box totes that have all the materials needed to teach Hands-only CPR and AED use. Visit the CPR-in-a-Box link for an interactive map showing the names of people who have the totes. Hands-Only CPR can be taught by anyone, using the video. Participants do not receive a card upon completion.


Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation - raising awareness & savings lives, sca-aware.org

The Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation has information about grant writing as well as information on various AED models. Their campaign, You Can Save a Life at School, focuses on many great school-related resources.  They also sponsor the AED Readiness Project, a national initiative to save lives threatened by sudden cardiac arrest, by offering reconditioned AEDs at half the price.

The Foundation also partners with several providers of AED equipment on their AEDs on the Market page. They do not make recommendations, but advise that "the best AED is the one that is well-maintained, well-marked and readily available, which arrives at the patient's side quickly."


SIM MT logoSimulation in Motion Montana: Three mobile simulation training trucks with a suite of high-definition simulation manikins allow more realistic training opportunities for health professionals and students interested in the medical fields, especially from the point of view of emergency technicians. The front of the trucks have pull-out areas and simulate an emergency room; the back simulates an ambulance. Visit the Mobile SIM Montana website to learn how your school can request a SIM truck to augment first aid training and education. 

See a SIM truck in action at the HOSA Montana Leadership Conference - March 12, 2018, Helena!

Havre Daily News - Mobile Medical Truck Stops in Havre - 8/31/2017.


AED Grant Funding

The Cardiac Ready Communities Program encourages communities to purchase Automated External Defibrillators (AED) for use in public locations in the event of a Sudden Cardiac Arrest. Grant funding and support is available to schools to purchase AED equipment. The cost of an AED has decreased to about $1,000. Refurbished models are available from sites such as eBay or Craigslist for even less.

The granting organizations listed below include school districts in their eligibility requirements:

Also consider local philanthropic groups such as the Elks, Eagles, Lions, Kiwanis, etc.

Additional Resources

  • DPHHS First Aid
  • MSU Bozeman - AED locations on campus (good example).
  • OSHA - Saving Sudden Cardiac Arrest Victims in the Workplace
  • Montana Requirements for use of Automated External Defibrillators (MCA 50-6-502)

AED & First Aid Training Resources

For AED training for staff, contact the American Heart Association or your local EMS Agency. They can provide training. A Hands-Only CPR course meets the state requirements for training.

  • American Heart Association: Emergency Cardiovascular Care (ECC) training and online courses.
  • Best Practice Medicine, based in Bozeman, is a licensed American Heart Association training site.
  • CPR in Schools Training Kit: The American Heart Association's newly upgraded CPR in Schools Training Kit™ enables students (grades 6-12) to learn the lifesaving skills of CPR in just one class period. Plus, the kit teaches AED use and choking relief. The easy-to-use kit is designed specifically for the needs of schools. The kit's brand new wheeled bag allows for convenient movement from classroom to classroom and easy storage. It’s also reusable – one kit can train hundreds of people.
  • EMS for Children Program at Montana DPHHS. Contact Robin Suzor, EMS for Children Program Manager, 406.444-0901.
  • Montana School Health Program: Accredited and non-accredited first aid trainings developed by different school health partners that includes Allergies and Anaphylaxis, Asthma, Concussion and Traumatic Brain Injury, Diabetes, Fitness, and Hands-only CPR.
  • The OPI's Teacher Learning Hub has online training opportunities for teachers on a wide array of topics.