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Why defibrillators are critical in schools

Published on 19th October 2017

As a teacher or parent, your main concerns are child health, well-being and safety.

Sudden Cardiac Arrest doesn’t discriminate and, can happen to anyone, at any age, at any time.

These statistics may come as a surprise to you but this is the reality we’re living in. Sudden Cardiac Arrest is the world’s biggest killer which strikes people of all ages. A cardiac arrest can happen to anyone at any age, height, size or gender which is what makes it so frightening. There doesn’t have to be any pre-existing heart conditions or family heart problems. You could be the healthiest, energetic person and still you can be struck suddenly.

For every minute that passes during an SCA attack without intervention, chances of survival drop by 20%. The only real chance of survival from SCA is a quick response with CPR and an Automated External Defibrillator (AED). The chain of survival is the most important procedure to follow. Immediate access to a defibrillator is imperative for survival. If a defibrillator is used and CPR is performed within 3-5 minutes, survival chances can increase to 50-70%. The quicker the treatment is provided, the higher the survival rate.

Average ambulance response times in the UK are 11 minutes. Last year, the Guardian published statistics which stated that ambulances in the UK failed to reach 75% of their most serious 999 calls within 8 minutes. How far away is your local hospital? Can an ambulance realistically reach the patient to defibrillate early? If this starts to ring alarm bells it shows you that an on-site AED is essential to give the patient the best chance of survival.

Playing sports in schools is actively encouraged from an early age and this can increase the risk of Sudden Cardiac Arrest. Active young children are vulnerable to Commotio Cordis which affects their developing hearts and softer chest wall which is still growing and strengthening. No matter how small the risk may be, having a defibrillator in schools ensures protection against SCA. Schools need to be providing the best equipment available for a cardiac emergency for both children and staff.

AEDs can play a vital role in saving the lives of pupils, staff and other users on the school premises. The Department of Education is encouraging all schools to consider purchasing these devices as part of their first-aid equipment.

For less than £1,000 you can give your school, it’s children, staff and visitors the best chance of survival against Sudden Cardiac Arrest with a lifesaving defibrillator.

*Stats are taken at the time of published article