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SCA In Schools

Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) is the leading cause of death among adults in the United States but as recent headlines show it also affects children and adolescents. 7,000 to 14,000 children die each year from SCA, making it the leading cause of death in young athletes. Many of these deaths occur on school and college campuses and most are unpredictable.

The risk of SCA in athletes increases with age. The incidence of SCA among high school and college athletes (ages 12 to 24) has been estimated to be 1 in 100,000 per year. Athletic participation carries an inherent risk of SCA. Adolescent and young adults involved in a sports activity have an estimated risk of SCA 2.8 times greater than their nonathletic counterparts.

Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) are clearly effective and needed in schools, yet few schools currently possess them. There are numerous reasons for this, budget constraints, liability concerns, and those that feel that dialing 911 is sufficient.

  • Fiscally speaking, times are tighter than ever for our schools and it may seem distorted to invest in something that may never be used. Lawsuits generally costs millions more than implementing an AED program.
  • Liability is and always will be a concern. Implementing a sound AED program, that meets are legal requirements as well as is properly maintained according to the manufactuer's recommendations and FDA can greatly mitigate your risk.
  • Dialing 911 activates the emergency system but does NOT always mean that EMS/Fire or Police will arrive with an AED within the critical period of time. The national response time average is 8-12 minutes.
Schools are gathering points within every community. Schools are used outside of the day-to-day educational lessons for school athletics, concerts, day care centers, local community organizations as well as a during a crisis (ie. Hurricane, earthquake fires or other disasters).

At any given time there are people of all ages on our school campuses; children, teachers, administration, parents, grandparents and other visitors. So, implementing an AED program has an increased importance when you look at the amount of people, age groups, activities and uses of our schools have on a daily basis.

There is a growing movement to have AEDs accessible within all schools. 10 states including Texas, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Hampshire, Georgia, Florida, Maryland, and Tennessee mandate AEDs in schools. Many other states such as California, Maine, Oklahoma and North Dakota have introduced bills, which is passed would mandate AEDs in all public schools.

Given the publicity surrounding the death of students in schools, along with a growing awareness of AEDs, their benefits and the perceived “standard of care” more and more parents, community members and advocates have a strong belief that there is no reason why our schools should not have these life saving programs.

Reducing risk for our schools, districts, communities and all those that visit a school site, by implementing AED programs should be a high priority. Implementing AED programs, in conjunction with proper training, maintaining the AEDs properly and ensuring all legal compliance requirements have been met, allows you to reduce your risk but saves school district’s money, time and possibly lives.

Everyone deserves the chance of survival.

Why Start An AED Program?

One person every two minutes will die in the U.S. from Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA). If defibrillation is performed within the first 1-3 minutes, there is a 70-80% chance of survival. Are you prepared?

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MY DAUGHTERS SCHOOL HAD ONE AED BUT DIDN'T KNOW ... ....where it was, how to use it or if it would even work. Later it was determined that the AED was never made accessible to staff because no one really knew how to manage such a program. So, it sat in a box. The pads had expired and the battery was dead. If they had a program and training then like the one Devices For Life now provides to this school, my daughter may still be alive.
- Michelle Hollen, Los Angeles
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Why Start An AED Program

Here are the States with the highest number of cardiac Arests in Schools*:

1. Texas
2. Ohio
3. Pennsylvania
4. California
5. New York
6. Florida
(*Information was obtained from Dr. Jonathan Drezner from the University of Washington. Dr. Drezner is also a member of Parent Heart Watch. article_reference: An AED for Every School:New National Legislation Being Introduced Issue Number: )