ALBANY, GA (WALB) - One Dougherty County elementary school was under pressure Thursday, as health officials tested teachers in a life-saving drill.
Teachers performed CPR on a dummy as part of West Town Elementary School's heart-safe school accreditation.
A message booms from the public address system: "Attention code valentine in room 212... Code Valentine."
It's an announcement that students and teachers are trained to respond to. There's a medical emergency and teachers must assemble to help give CPR.
"My heart was racing really fast because I know you have to react and respond quickly," Olympia Danford, Early Intervention Teacher.
Ms. Danford was put to the test today to see if she and other teachers could save a life under pressure. After several minutes of counting, and listening to the AED machine, the team had success.
When it comes to performing CPR doctors say quick response is vital.
"The key to proper CPR is using the AED, getting EMS here in a timely manner can mean the matter of life and death," said Dr. Benjamin Toole, of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.
Today, CPR was performed on a dummy, as a test for the school to make sure it is up-to-date with CPR training, but Principal Steven Dudley says his staff has had to perform under real pressure in the past.
"We've had two staff members this year who have had to go through a code valentine as well as three students," Dudley said.
While the pressure heightens when it's a true emergency, Dudley says the hype and pressure behind these drills are necessary.
"We have to remain calm because it's a serious situation going on, so if we don't remain calm, the children won't remain calm," said the principal.
The Dougherty County School system is the only district south of Atlanta that is a 'heart-safe' school system, which means they have safety teams trained to do CPR.
The school system works with Phoebe's Network of Trust as well as Project SAVE to get this designation.