Keep Our Students Safe With AEDs in Schools

TL;DR: School safety often overlooks readiness for sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), which affects 7,000 kids annually in the U.S. Equipping schools with AEDs is crucial, as demonstrated by a life-saving incident in North Carolina. AEDs provide immediate aid, increase survival rates, and foster a culture of safety. Educators, staff, and older students should receive CPR and AED training to respond effectively. AED usage involves simple steps, complementing CPR efforts to restart the heart. CPR and AED training in Charlotte, NC, empowers individuals to enhance school safety and potentially save lives.

When you think about schools, you often picture a place of knowledge and safety. Yet, one aspect of safety doesn’t get talked about enough – the readiness to respond to a sudden cardiac arrest. Unfortunately, 7000 kids and teens suffer from SCA in the U.S. every year.

Considering that children spend most of their day at school or in extracurricular activities, the best strategy to ensure their safety is to equip schools with AEDs. A compelling case from North Carolina perfectly showcases this need. During regular practice, a cheerleader suffered a cardiac arrest right on school grounds. The quick thinking of her mother, a CPR-certified medical assistant, and the quick use of an AED turned around a potentially tragic situation.

This story perfectly demonstrates the safety benefits of AEDs in schools. In this article, we’ll look at how these devices can be a lifeline during a medical emergency on school grounds.

The Need For AEDs in Schools

Schools are bustling places filled with young, seemingly healthy individuals. However, sudden cardiac arrest doesn’t pick a convenient time or place. It can strike during an intense game on the basketball court or in the middle of a crowded school event.

Young athletes, in particular, face a risk during high-exertion activities. Some studies show that each year, one in every 50,000 young athletes die due to sudden cardiac arrest. Their bodies are pushed to the limits, and without warning, a hidden heart condition can suddenly become a life-threatening emergency.

But it’s not just the students. Teachers, staff, and any visitors stepping onto the school grounds could have undiagnosed heart issues that could lead to sudden cardiac arrest. Immediate action significantly boosts their chances of making it through. AEDs give non-medical personnel the ability to respond effectively during a medical emergency.

With clear, step-by-step instructions, AEDs guide you through delivering a potentially life-saving shock. By having AEDs accessible throughout school campuses, you’re arranging a safety net for everyone on school grounds. This proactive approach can make all the difference, turning what could be a tragic event into a story of swift action and survival.

The Benefits of Having AEDs in Schools

At first glance, the presence of these life-saving devices in educational settings might seem like a precautionary measure, but their value goes far beyond. They give immediate medical advantages and foster a broader sense of security and responsibility within the school community. The benefits of AEDs are numerous and include:

    • Increased survival rates: Every minute that a victim of SCA spends without defibrillation reduces their chase of survival by 7% to 10%. Having AEDs readily available in schools means we can act fast, giving our kids the best shot at survival until professional medical help arrives.

    • Promote a culture of safety and readiness: Making AEDs available and providing CPR training sends a message that the school is prepared to handle serious health emergencies, not just in theory but in practice. This proactive approach to safety can encourage everyone to become more aware of their environment and the importance of emergency preparedness.

    • Reduce response time during emergencies: In some cases, waiting for emergency services to arrive can result in lost time you can use to provide early intervention instead. With on-site AEDs, trained staff and even older students can step in and offer immediate assistance to prevent a bad outcome.

    • Community and parental peace of mind: Knowing that a school has AEDs and that there are people trained to use them reassures parents that their children are in a safe place. Schools must take the children’s safety seriously and be willing to invest in it. This peace of mind strengthens the trust between schools, students, and parents.

Who Needs To Know How To Use AED in Schools

North Carolina is one of the few states in the US where teachers and coaches aren’t required to have CPR training. However, a house bill requiring coaches to have CPR certification is underway. Still, educators and other school staff should have CPR and AED training as well so they can help during an emergency. School staff recommended to be CPR certified include:

    • School nurses and health staff: These people are the frontline defenders when health crises strike, and knowing their way around an AED can make all the difference.

    • Physical education teachers and sports coaches: Given the physical exertion involved in their daily routines, they should be well-versed in these emergency procedures.

    • School security personnel: They constantly roam the grounds, and their ability to respond swiftly to a cardiac event can save precious minutes.

    • Teachers and administrative staff: They’re not health professionals but are often the closest adults in a classroom or school office. Training them in CPR and AED use equips them with the knowledge to act instead of panic.

    • Older students: Incorporating CPR and AED training into health and safety education will empower them and foster a culture of responsibility. Luckily, CPR training is part of the school curriculum in NC, and completing it is a requirement for graduation.

How To Use An AED

Using an AED might seem intimidating, but it’s simpler than you think, especially if you have some CPR training. These devices are meant to be easy and fast to use and require only a few steps:

    1. Turn the AED on. It might seem obvious, but it’s easy to forget the basics in a high-stress situation.

    1. Once it’s on, the device will give you audio instructions on what to do next, so you don’t have to worry about memorizing steps. Just listen and follow along.

    1. Place the AED pads on the victim’s chest. There are usually pictures on the pads showing you exactly where they need to go, so it’s pretty foolproof.

    1. Place them according to the pictogram so the device can accurately analyze the heart’s rhythm and deliver a shock if needed.

    1. When the AED is analyzing or preparing to deliver a shock, make sure nobody is touching the victim.

    1. After the shock, or if the AED decides not to shock, you might need to continue CPR until medical professionals arrive.

The Link Between AEDs and CPR

CPR is the immediate action you can take to help maintain blood flow to the brain and heart after a sudden cardiac arrest. By performing CPR, you’re buying the victim time until you can get an AED or until emergency services arrive.

While CPR is crucial, it’s often not enough on its own to restart the heart. AEDs can deliver an electric shock capable of resetting the heart’s rhythm to normal. AEDs and CPR form a powerful duo, significantly increasing the survival rate.

Get CPR and AED Training in Charlotte, NC

The safety benefits of AEDs in schools are numerous, and placing AEDs in schools is the first step toward ensuring the safety and well-being of students and staff. These devices can dramatically increase the chances of survival after a cardiac arrest, acting fast to correct heart rhythms before emergency services arrive.

If you want to learn how to use an AED and get CPR training simultaneously, consider signing up for CPR classes in Charlotte, NC. Whether you’re an educator, student, or parent, you can do your part to make our schools safer by learning CPR.