In the event of an emergency, schools carry the “unspoken” and “unwritten” responsibility of being prepared to protect their students and staff. That expectation often also extends out to the members of the community who visit the school every day. As an example, that’s why you’ll see multiple fire extinguishers placed throughout every school in the country, and it’s the reason why schools conduct monthly fire drills. If a fire were to break out on campus, it’s ultimately the school’s responsibility to ensure they are prepared with the proper equipment and response plan to keep the people on campus safe.
While schools are preparing emergencies like fires, earthquakes, and tornados on campus, they should also be preparing for the leading cause of death in the U.S. and by far the leading killer of school-aged children: Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA).
Sudden Cardiac Arrest occurs when the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating. There are often no discernible warning signs or symptoms. The only treatment for a cardiac arrest victim is CPR (which helps keep blood flowing through the body) and a life-saving defibrillation shock from an Automated External Defibrillator (AED). The scariest thing about SCA is that every minute a cardiac arrest victim doesn’t receive a shock from an AED, their chances of survival are reduced by 7-10%. Average EMS response times in the U.S. are between 8-12 minutes and can be much longer in less urban communities, making early bystander defibrillation vital to saving the lives of SCA victims. Unfortunately, national survival rates from SCA are dismal at less than 10%.
Losing a child to SCA is tragic under any circumstances. When a child’s life is lost to SCA at their school, it’s even more heartbreaking because the data shows there’s a good chance their life could have been saved if the school had taken the proper steps to be prepared to respond to a cardiac arrest emergency.
While many schools across the country are taking those necessary steps by placing AEDs on their campuses and properly training their staff on CPR/AED use, there is still far more work to do to ensure everyone is safe from being a victim of SCA when they are at a school.
Over 7,000 children tragically die from SCA every year, making it the leading cause of death of school-aged children. Research shows that 2/3 of SCA related deaths in youth occur during exercise or while they are playing sports, making SCA also the #1 cause of death among young athletes. Physical activity is a daily part of nearly every student’s life with recess, P.E. class, and school-sponsored sports.
Research published by the Journal of The American College of Cardiology shockingly showed that 2 out of 50 high schools can expect to have an SCA event on their campus each year.
Over the course of any given day, over 20% of the U.S. population can be found at a school. Campuses can transform into small cities with thousands of people present at one time for events such as sports, school plays, and general community events hosted on campus. With SCA also being a leading cause of death for adults, it’s not only youth who are at risk on school campuses. Parents watching their child play for the high school team, the referee of the soccer game, and the coach of the dance team are also at risk of SCA. In multiple studies outlining outcomes from SCA events in thousands of high schools, over half of the reported cardiac arrest victims were adults.
Sign up for our newsletter to be the first to learn about all of the Avive Connect AED’s features and capabilities as we unveil them. What you see here is just the beginning!