Sudden Cardiac Arrest is a leading cause of death worldwide, but it’s also the #1 killer of student athletes, and a leading cause of death on school campuses. 1 in 300 youth are at risk for an undetected heart condition.
So why aren’t Automated External Defibrillators required in all schools? Why is CPR certification not a requirement for every single teacher in the United States?
The safety and well-being of students and participants in educational institutions and after-school activities are of paramount importance. While schools and extracurricular programs strive to create a nurturing environment, unexpected medical emergencies can occur at any time. Having AEDs readily available in schools and after-school activities can make a life-saving difference.
Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) – A Silent Threat
Sudden Cardiac Arrest affects individuals of all ages, including thousands of children and adolescents each year. SCA occurs when the heart’s electrical system malfunctions, causing it to stop pumping blood effectively. It is a medical emergency that requires immediate intervention. In schools and after-school activities, where large groups of youth gather, the risk of SCA cannot be overlooked. Having an AED on-site significantly improves the chances of survival for victims experiencing Sudden Cardiac Arrest.
Timely Response is Critical
When someone experiences Sudden Cardiac Arrest, every second counts. The chances of survival decrease by approximately 10% with each passing minute without defibrillation. While emergency medical services are called upon during such situations, their response time averages 7-14 minutes. Teachers and staff beginning effective CPR immediately can double or triple the chance of survival. But, the only way to restart the heart is a shock from an automated external defibrillator. Having an AED readily available ensures that life-saving treatment can begin within moments of an incident and increase survival.
AEDs in Sports and Physical Activities
Physical activities, including sports, can sometimes lead to sudden cardiac events, especially in individuals with undiagnosed heart conditions. 1 in 300 youth are at risk for an undetected heart condition and active youth are at greater risk for Sudden Cardiac Arrest. Having AEDs readily available on the sports field, gymnasiums, or any other physical activity area can safeguard participants and spectators alike.
Peace of Mind for Parents and Guardians
Knowing that schools and after-school activities are equipped with AEDs provides a sense of security to parents and guardians. They can rest assured that in the event of a cardiac emergency, their children have a better chance of survival due to the prompt availability of life-saving equipment. This peace of mind can foster trust between parents and educational institutions and encourage increased participation in extracurricular activities.
Just having an AED is not enough. Schools also need a plan in place for a cardiac emergency that ensures the AED is ready to shock, and that staff is trained and ready. There are too many heartbreaking lawsuits that state that AEDs were available but none were used, or the staff was unprepared. Empowered people are key to survival. CPR/AED certification should be required to familiarize teachers and staff with AED operations and CPR techniques. This knowledge empowers them to respond effectively during emergencies, promoting a safer environment for everyone involved.
The presence of Automated External Defibrillators in schools and after-school activities is a vital step towards creating a safe and prepared community. Sudden Cardiac Arrest can strike without warning, but with an AED on hand, lives can be saved. The ease of use and accessibility of these devices make them suitable for use by non-medical personnel, enabling quick response times and potentially life-saving interventions. Regardless of if the AED is required by law or not, investing in AEDs and training is a proactive measure that no educational institution or after-school program should overlook.
Is your school ready? Talk to our team to be sure.