All schools have fire alarms, smoke detectors, and fire extinguishers. However, most are not required to have automated external defibrillators (AEDs). AEDs are life-saving devices that should be a fixture in all schools nationwide.
Why do schools need AED devices?
Sudden cardiac arrest takes the lives of thousands of students every year and is the leading cause of death in student athletes in the United States. Without an AED on hand, the chances of survival after one of these events is greatly diminished.
What is an AED?
An automated external defibrillator is the only tool that can save the life of someone in cardiac arrest, Think of the heart as a car battery. During sudden cardiac arrest your battery dies. An AED is essentially a jump start for your heart. The use of an AED, in combination with CPR, dramatically increases the chance of survival.
How do you use an AED?
Use of an AED is simple. The pictures on the device will show you where to place the pads. The voice will tell you what to do. It will also diagnose the heart to determine if a shock is needed. If you set up Instagram on your phone, you can work an AED device. It’s that simple.
Why don’t all schools have AEDs?
There is no federal legislation that requires AED devices in schools, and less than one third of all states have an AED requirement for schools. Surprisingly, even in those states, the legislation may only encourage schools to get AED devices, not require them.
Would you send your child to a school that was not equipped with fire alarms and extinguishers? Of course you wouldn’t. So why are AEDs any different? Contact your school to see if there are AEDs where your kids learn and play. The school may not even be aware of their lack of preparedness, but they will understand the importance of your child’s safety. Raising awareness could be enough to motivate action.
Simon’s Heart can help!
Every youth facility and school in America should have a functioning AED on hand. Find out where we’ve been making donations. Set up a crowdfunding campaign on our site, GotAED. Ask your school if they have a Cardiac Emergency Response Plan. Your school has one for fires, and unfortunately, active shooters. It should also be prepared when a student collapses and goes into cardiac arrest.
Learn more about what your state is doing to get AEDs in schools on our Best Resources Page.