AEDs in Schools Allow for Quick Response to Sudden Cardiac Arrest

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Approximately 7,000 children, including adolescents, die from sudden cardiac arrest each year. Moreover, it is estimated that one out of every 200,000 high school athletes die from sudden cardiac arrest each year. Sudden cardiac arrest strikes people of all ages and fitness levels, usually without warning. Automated external defibrillators (AEDs) help schools to be prepared in the event of a cardiac emergency and potentially save the life of a student, employee, or visitor.

I was shocked at what I found

Approximately 7,000 children, including adolescents, die from sudden cardiac arrest each year. Moreover, it is estimated that one out of every 200,000 high school athletes die from sudden cardiac arrest each year. Sudden cardiac arrest strikes people of all ages and fitness levels, usually without warning. Automated external defibrillators (AEDs) help schools to be prepared in the event of a cardiac emergency and potentially save the life of a student, employee, or visitor.

Medical experts believe many children could be saved if an automated external defibrillator (AED) is used within minutes of a collapse. However, there is currently no national system in place to ensure AEDs are present and in working order in our country's schools. Several bills have been introduced into both the United States Senate and House of Representatives supporting teaching CPR in school and implementing AED programs. Currently approximately 11 states have legislation regarding AEDs in schools. (To learn more about current AED in schools legislation visit http://www.AEDHQ.com/school_legislation.html.)

Current estimates indicate that only 20% of all public and private schools have automated external defibrillators (AEDs). Richard Wright, of http://www.AEDHeadquarters.com, recently visited three local schools to investigate first-hand this AED dilemma.

"I was shocked at what I found," Wright said. "At a high school, I asked the receptionist if the school had defibrillators. She indicated she thought so but wasn't sure. I then visited an elementary school and found an AED behind a door hanging on a coat hook. There was also a small sign above the AED; unfortunately you couldn't see it with the door open. My last stop was at a middle school where I met with the principal. When I asked if there was an AED in the school, he answered positively. When I asked where it was located, he wasn't sure. He thought it was locked up in the athletic department. When I said that it should be placed in an AED alarmed cabinet so everyone would know where it was, he said that he was concerned that one of the students might steal it."

This is just the tip of the iceberg with regard to AEDs in schools. A number of schools only have one AED which is not enough. Many simply don't understand that you have less than ten minutes to respond to sudden cardiac arrest, and to keep the odds in your favor the goal is to begin defibrillation in three to five minutes. The overall simplicity of many AEDs offered today

is not well known. Several AED models are intended to be easy to learn and use for even the most uneducated responders.

"We can save lives by properly installing AEDs in our schools," Wright said. "We need to educate school administration, parents, and the kids themselves."

Today there are many schools that have an AED; unfortunately most personnel are clueless as to the implementation process. Visit http://www.AEDHQ.com/AEDsinSchools.html and learn the "10 key essentials for Proper AED implementation within the Schools."

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Matt White

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