The Safety Benefits of AEDs in School

The Safety Benefits of AEDs in Schools

Today we’ll be taking a look at what the safety benefits of AEDs in Schools are. According to the American College of Cardiology, two out of fifty high schools in the States expect to deal with an SCA case each year. While it’s both sad and frightening to know that children can be affected by an SCA, it is also an eye-opener that should urge authorities to create legislation imposing schools to have an AED on site.

A sudden cardiac arrest can take anybody by surprise, regardless of age or physical fitness. In combination with cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), AEDs can be just what improves survival rates. Hence, it is highly important to have an AED in schools and be able to act in that split second that might just help a child – or anyone working in a school, for that matter – until an emergency team arrives.

To learn more about what makes automated external defibrillators an integral part of school inventory, keep on reading.

Does The Safety Benefits of AEDs in Schools Outweigh The Danger of Dealing With an SCA Case?

As we mentioned, everyone can suffer a sudden cardiac arrest, children included. According to a study on the incidence of sudden cardiac arrests among high school athletes, these students are more prone to suffering from an SCA. This only serves to further emphasize the importance of emergency planning in schools and more comprehensive cardiac screening.

In case a student falls into cardiac arrest, and a bystander happens to perform CPR on them, they would be preventing possible brain damage by allowing oxygen to circulate into the bloodstream and to the brain.

On the other hand, by using an AED, they would be mending the unnoticeable problems of “faulty cardiac mechanics”. Even though youngsters aren’t typically connected with suffering a heart attack, school safety should include first aid training to teach students and staff how to recognize heart attack symptoms.

When an unfortunate case of an SCA occurs, bystanders can make a difference in the survival rate by using a defibrillator to keep the blood flow going and do their best to save a life.

Each Year, Thousands of Children Die From Cardiac Arrest

The Safety Benefits of AEDs in Schools is important to meet and here is why. The American Heart Association (AHA) came forth with staggering statistics showing the prevalence of young people’s death. The numbers show that the most typical causes of sudden death in young high school athletes included:

      • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (36%);

      • Coronary artery anomalies (19%);

      • Myocarditis (7%);

      • Arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (5%);

      • Coronary artery disease (4%); and

      • Commotio Cordis (3%).

    Another AHA statistic reports nearly 7,037 children suffer an out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrest each year. The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia pointed out that 3-5% of all child deaths are due to SCA each year.

    Now, given the fact that children in the U.S. spend up to 180 days a year in school, the chances of anything bad happening on-site are not to be overlooked. To that extent, since children spend that much time in school, receiving some sort of first-aid training is vital – and so is the presence of an AED.

    Most Public Schools in the U.S. Are Not Obligated to Have AEDs

    Sadly, the majority of U.S. public schools are not in any way concerned with purchasing an AED. In fact, less than 20 states have imposed AED requirements for schools. Out of the 20, less than a dozen (9 of them) set aside funding for AEDs.

    For instance, California is one of the states that makes it mandatory for public schools to have at least one AED readily available to school staff. On the other hand, Alaska and Arizona fall back on having any type of AED requirement for schools.

    When a sudden cardiac arrest occurs, the heart’s electrical system experiences a “breakdown”, hindering blood flow and oxygen from reaching the heart, the brain, and other organs. In such a scenario, having an AED nearby is of utter importance, as using an AED within the first 3 minutes is vital to bypass serious neuro damage, or even death.

    High School Athletes Are More Prone to Death From a Sudden Cardiac Arrest Than Non-Athletes

    However dreadful the notion might sound, it is something the U.S. is faced with each year. According to the same research published by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, two-thirds of the fatalities due to cardiac arrest in children and adults happen during some type of physical activity or exercise. Moreover, 75% of all athlete deaths in the U.S. are caused by SCA.

    In essence, every second counts. Medical professionals and researchers have found that the time between the collapse and the start of the defibrillation is crucial for the SCA victim to be brought back to consciousness. To that matter, the rates of surviving a sudden cardiac arrest can be improved if AEDs are within reach, especially bearing in mind that the chances of survival decrease by 10% with every delayed shock from an AED.

    What Prevents Schools From Incorporating AEDs in Their School Safety Programs?

    The Safety Benefits of AEDs in Schools usually isn’t enough and here’s why. The biggest obstacle for schools to purchase an AED is the cost of the device. It’s not that school authorities do not upgrade their school safety systems per se, but it’s more that they do not have sufficient funds to purchase AEDs.

    On average, a modern AED will cost anywhere from $1,200 to $3,000, depending on the model and the manufacturer. However, even though the cost isn’t affordable for many public schools on a tight budget, local authorities are at liberty to stretch the funds assigned as a yearly budget for schools and make it easier for school authorities to purchase the life-saving device.

    Why Should a School Have an AED on Site?

    As we discussed, lacking an AED on school premises can mean losing precious time, which may often result in lives lost. From being able to save a peer’s life until the medical emergency team arrives to being protected under the Good Samaritan laws while delivering life-saving procedures, having an AED at school premises can be a lifesaver.

    To narrow things down, here are some of the key benefits of having an AED in schools:

        • It can save a life;

        • It elevates survival rates in the case of SCA by over 40%;

        • It’s portable and can be transported across premises easily;

        • It’s battery-operated – no extra costs for electricity;

        • With AEDs and first-aid training, having a doctor on site is optional.

      What Is the Best Location for an AED in Schools?

      In the case a school does purchase an AED (a new or a used one), the location of the device is also important – it’s no use having an AED if nobody can find it when it’s a life-and-death situation. A proper location for an AED in schools would be in the hallway, mounted on a wall, at a height that’s easily accessible for everyone.

      Who Can Use an AED in Schools?

      If it is decided that schools must have an AED on the premises, then school authorities must also provide CPR classes that would teach students and staff how to use it. The good thing about automated external defibrillators is that they come in several types, but they all work efficiently.

      Purchasing the basic models or a fully automated AED would allow everyone to use the machine – from teachers and students to janitors and even visitors. In these cases, even without actual CPR or AED training, everyone can use a defibrillator since they are particularly designed to be simple.

      Conclusion: The Safety Benefits of AEDs in Schools

      Sudden cardiac arrest can happen to anyone – including children. As staggering as that may sound, real statistics show that more than 2,000 kids and adults lose their lives due to SCA. This is why learning how to prevent it and taking all measures is of the utmost importance.

      When it comes to children, schools are one of the essential places where CPR and AED usage should be the primary emphasis. Although not all states in the U.S. have a legal framework that obliges schools to have an AED on the premises, that doesn’t mean that school authorities shouldn’t work on implementing such devices.
      Learning how to use an AED and performing CPR on a person of any age can help save a life. The importance of knowing and using both of these techniques can be of immense support while waiting for emergency services to arrive. This should provide you with all the answers to knowing the safety benefits of AEDs in schools.