Each year in the UK, NHS Ambulance Services attempt resuscitation of roughly 30,000 people experiencing out of hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA).
Less than one in ten instances of OHCA involve using a public access defibrillator. However, there could be more lives saved if people had access to a defibrillator and the knowledge of how to use it.
An AED or automated external defibrillator is a tool that can help save the life of someone experiencing sudden cardiac arrest. Having AEDs in schools can help protect the lives of the children and teachers in your building.
Here’s what you need to know about defibrillators in schools in the UK and why you need one.
The Facts on Cardiac Arrest in Children
The sad reality is that children die from cardiac arrest each year. Even if the child receives life support from ambulance staff, that help might not come soon enough. A sudden cardiac arrest requires prompt action, as treatment is highly time-sensitive. Providing AEDs in schools in combination with CPR presents a chance to help save a child’s life.
According to the most recent data, OHCA patients that underwent CPR had much higher survival rates. Combining defibrillators with CPR prior to the arrival of an ambulance can prove to be the difference between life and death.
Most people think children are young and healthy, but the truth is that sudden cardiac arrest can happen to anyone.
Sudden cardiac arrest in schools is more common than you might think. An estimated 270 children die from sudden cardiac arrest each year in the UK. However, defibrillation can increase the survival rate by as much as 75 per cent.
What’s a Defibrillator and What Does It Do?
A sudden cardiac arrest happens when there’s a problem with the heart’s electrical activity. The heart can’t perform its job correctly. Unfortunately, it’s often the case that an arrest can happen without any warning or any history of heart issues.
The reality is that a sudden cardiac arrest can happen to anyone, even children, regardless of your health status or how in shape you are.
Most sudden cardiac arrests occur as a result of ventricular fibrillation, which is an unsynchronised and rapid rhythm originating in the ventricles of the heart. Each minute a victim goes without a normal heartbeat, their chance of survival goes down.
An AED is a device designed to deliver a life-saving electric shock to the heart. This shock can potentially stop arrhythmia or an irregular heartbeat and help the heart regain a normal rhythm. It’s an essential tool to help save the life of someone experiencing a sudden cardiac arrest.
How to Use an AED
Anyone can use an AED, whether they’ve been trained or not. Teachers or other staff can access the AED defibrillator as soon as they see a child experiencing cardiac arrest.
There’s no need to feel nervous using an AED. They have clear pictured instructions and also include verbal instructions designed to help the user through the process of assisting the victim. The chance of harming the victim or the user is extremely low.
The first step after seeing a child needs help is to tell a bystander to call for emergency help.
Turn the device on and follow the voice prompts. Remove any clothing covering the chest and wipe the chest dry if necessary. Place the pads on the chest as instructed.
The AED will analyse the heart’s rhythm. Ensure no one is touching the child; it helps if you shout “CLEAR!”
If the shock is necessary, the device will deliver a shock to the child. In some cases, the AED may state that no shock is advised.
Afterwards, immediately start CPR.
Our Concept Hygiene defibrillator uses clear voice commands to ensure the user takes the appropriate actions. It also helps fully synchronised CPR to ensure the best chances of stabilising the victim and restoring a normal heart rhythm.
It’s a School’s Responsibility
It’s every school’s responsibility to prepare for emergencies such as fires, tornadoes, and so on. Keeping life-saving equipment handy, such as fire extinguishers, is simply common sense.
So why aren’t there more AEDs in schools? As of now, no legislation requires AEDs in any location in the UK. Workplaces, schools, and other public areas aren’t legally required to carry them.
There is also the issue of funding for defibrillators in schools, as some may feel they can’t afford it. Our defibrillators are available for purchase outright or through a managed plan. Keeping these essential medical devices in your school can cost as little as £1 per day.
It’s highly recommended that you keep these life-saving devices in your school and easily accessible.
Installing AEDs in your school could help to save a child’s life. Make sure your teachers and staff know where the devices are located and what to do in the event of an emergency. Providing training on how to use the defibrillators might put their minds at ease, but it isn’t necessary.
Keep AEDs in Schools and Save a Life
Keeping AEDs in schools provides access to this life-saving device. It’s vital to act fast if anyone experiences a sudden cardiac arrest. Prompt action can mean the difference between life and death.
You should ensure that all parts are up to date so that if someone needs to use the device, it’s ready and in working order.
Our managed defibrillator services include coverage across the UK and are compliant with UK legislation. Our Zoll Defibrillators are one of the most trusted brands on the market. It’s easy to use whether the user has training or not thanks to clear voice commands.
Get started by contacting us today and learning more.